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Summary Act 2

 

SCENE 1

Ruminating on his mistress’ new found glory, Aaron resolves to cuckold Satuninus and join Tamora in undermining Satuninus’ rule and Rome’s peace and order when he comes upon Tamora’s sons Demetrius and Chiron who are in the midst of a quarrel over Lavinia. Aaron censures them for presuming to openly quarrel for the favors of a married, Roman, royal princess with impunity. However Demetrius and Chiron’s ardor is such that they draw swords against one another for the chance to cuckold Bassianus. Impressed, Aaron advises Demetrius and Chiron how they may both satisfy their lusts without raising suspicions of their guilt. Acknowledging the wicked cleverness of Aaron’s scheme, the brothers decide to heed Aaron's advise and cooperate to their mutual benefit.

SCENE 2

Having promised the Emperor to host a hunting excursion, Titus, with his brother Marcus and his three sons Lucius, Quintus, and Martius, arrives at the royal residence to awake the royal household. Anon, Titus and his party are joined by Saturninus, Tamora, Bassanius, Lavinia, Chiron, and Demetrius. They exchange greetings by and by the parties set off for their hunting excursion.

SCENE 3

Aaron the Moor plants a bag of gold behind a tree which gold is to serve a stratagem when Tamora comes upon him. She is incredulous that he is so grim and deadly serious what with the happy surroundings—the birds, the trees, and the sunshine—which ought to be a lovely backdrop to their secret romance. Aaron attributes his deadly seriousness to vengeance on behalf of Tamora—vengeance which will shortly end Bassianus’ life and render Lavinia speechless and ravished. To that end, Aaron hands Tamora a letter, which she is to give Saturninus, and instructs her to be cross with Bassianus who they presently espy approaching them with Lavinia at his side. Tamora does as Aaron instructs and presently chides Bassianus for intruding on her privacy. Offended, Bassianus accuses Tamora of dishonoring his brother by consorting with Aaron the Moor. The accusation is seconded by Lavinia. Anon, as per Aaron’s machination, Demetrius and Chiron arrive on the scene to behold their mother in a state of high dudgeon on account of Bassanius and Lavinia. Indeed, Tamora orders her sons to avenge her and they’re more than happy to oblige, stabbing and killing Bassanius. As for Lavinia, Tamora herself will dispatch, but as she tries to she is dissuaded by Demetrius and Chiron who have other plans. Realizing that her sons mean to ravish Lavinia, Tamora counsels them to make sure that when the deed is done Lavinia is incapable of putting the blame on them. Lavinia pleads Tamora that she be murdered outright and be spared the ravishment, but to no avail. After they throw Bassianus’ slain body into a predetermined pit as per Aaron’s instructions, the brothers lead Lavinia away to have their way with her.

Meanwhile, Aaron leads Titus’ sons Martius and Quintus to a pit where according to Aaron a desired game animal has been espied sleeping. Though he can’t say why, Quintus feels uneasy. His worries prove prophetic when simultaneously Martius falls into the pit and Aaron vanishes. Unable to help his brother out of the pit (wherein lies the slain body of Bassanius) Quintus jumps into the pit to join and comfort his brother. Anon, led by Aaron, Saturninus arrives at the scene only to behold his brother’s slain body and his brother’s supposed murderers Martius and Quintus. The supposition becomes a guilty verdict beyond a reasonable doubt when Aaron produces a bag of gold behind a nearby tree on the heels of Tamora arriving on the scene to hand Saturninus a stray letter that speaks of a conspiracy to kill Bassianus for gold. Presently, Titus, who had arrived on the scene, with Tamora, begs Saturninus to free his sons as he would post their bail and as he would personally see to it that his sons will formally answer their charge with their life if need be. Alas, Titus’ petition is for naught as Saturninus has made up his mind that Martius and Quintus are guilty. Tamora urges Titus to take heart as she will speak on his behalf.

SCENE 4

Having lopped off Lavinia’s hands and tongue after ravishing her, Demetrius and Chiron leave Lavinia to her devices, smugly confident that their heinous deeds will go undiscovered. By and by, Marcus Andronicus discovers his niece and the gruesome state she’s in. Railing against the anonymous villain who has rendered her thus, he escorts Lavinia home where she may yet find solace though the chances are that even at home solace will prove elusive. 

William Shakespeare