Titus Andronicus is an old man, the head of the powerful Andronicus family, and a lifelong soldier.
Deeply conservative, he is rigid, uncompromising, unsentimental, proud, religious, concerned for his family honor and possessed of a truly military respect for doing things the right way. Offered the possibility of becoming Emperor, he rejects it, refuses Bassianus’s offer of a bribe, and gives in to his knee-jerk reaction of making the elder son of the dead Emperor the new monarch, despite Saturninus’s evident unworthiness. One of the great soldiers of the age, Titus had 25 sons, 21 of whom are dead in the wars, and one daughter, Lavinia. His stiff-necked refusal to show mercy to Tamora and her sons dooms almost his entire family, while his trust in serving the Emperor no matter what leaves him vulnerable when Saturninus rejects him. A ruthless man, Titus kills his own son Mutius when he gets in his way and attempts to reject his entire family when they disapprove of his actions, including at first refusing to let them bury Mutius honorably. As the events of the play progress and prove that Titus’s well-ordered world does not work the way it should, the old man’s grasp on reality begins to waver. Just how far he progresses on the road to madness is a matter of opinion – though he shoots arrows with messages to the gods, he also recognizes Tamora in her disguise as Revenge. Not a man to do things by halves, he plots an extreme revenge on the Queen of Goths for what she does to him. Though he can never quite be accused of self-pity – he has reasons enough to grumble – he does spend rather a lot of time complaining. He loves his grandson Young Lucius a great deal.