Is loyalty to the state worth everything? Titus Andronicus, Rome's most honored general, has led twenty-one of his sons to their death on battlefields, fighting for Rome, even killing one for, in his judgment, behaving disloyalty to the emperor. With the Roman emperorship uncertain, he returns triumphant from wars against the Goths, bringing with him the captives Queen Tamora, her sons, and her lover Aaron. From the beginning the violent and tragic consequences of this action decide the course of the play. Undoubtedly Shakespeare at his most violent, Titus Andronicus is not for the faint-hearted. Beyond the bloodshed it is an examination of the state: Rome in which law, custom, and tradition have come to be so powerful as to obscure reality, and so make possible a barbarity that understands itself as the peak of civilization; and the individual: driven by loyalty, revenge, and the desire for power, and yet endowed with the capacity to change.