Titus returns victorious from the Goth Wars with prisoners. The Goth queen Tamora begs for the life of her eldest son Albarus to be spared. Titus orders him to be executed to atone for the deaths of his own sons in battle.
Saturninus and his brother Bassianus are rivals to become emperor but the people choose Titus. He refuses and lets Saturninus take the throne. The new emperor then takes a wife,Lavinia, Titus’ only daughter but she is betrothed to Bassanius. He runs off with Lavinia, assisted by her brothers. Titus is outraged by their treason and kills Mutius, his own son, who is guarding the door after their escape. Saturninus takes Tamora as his wife. She promises herself revenge.
Tamora and Aaron, her Moorish lover, plot the killing of Bassanius and the framing of Titus’ sons, Quintus and Martius, for his murder. The innocent brothers are sentenced to death. Titus’ other son Lucius is banished for trying to rescue them.Tamora’s sons Demetrius and Chiron attack Lavinia and rape her. To prevent her identifying them they hack off her hands and cut out her tongue. Titus suffers great anguish at his daughter’s savage ravishment.
Aaron tells Titus that the only way to save his sons is to cut off his own hand .He does so.It is returned to him with his sons’ heads. Titus’ anguish drives him towards madness. Lucius leaves to raise an army to attack Rome .Lavinia manages to identify her attackers.
Aaron flees with a baby born to him by Tamora but is captured by Lucius and his advancing Goth army.
Tamora and her sons visit Titus in disguise to persuade Titus to appease Lucius .Titus feigns that he is fooled and Tamora departs. The brothers are captured and killed and their flesh baked into pies served to Tamora at a banquet.
Titus then kills Lavinia and Tamora.Saturninus kills him.Lucius kills Saturninus. Lucius becomes emperor and sentences Aaron to a long and lingering death.