The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1360 Monday, 20 May 2002
Date: Saturday, 18 May 2002 17:39:09 -1000
Subject: 13.1350 Rape of Lucrece
Comment: Re: SHK 13.1350 Rape of Lucrece
I read Lucrece some time ago.
As I remember, I thought it probably the longest blank verse description
of rape. I think something in the legend caught Shakespeare's
imagination - he refers to it repeatedly. In Cymbeline, the night-time
bedroom scene with Iachimo comes fairly close to a replay, though there
is no actual rape. In Macbeth, the reference to "Tarquin's ravishing
strides" picks up the intense desire, danger, and violence of the
story. There are several other references to Tarquin in Shakespeare's
plays, but I don't think those references are to the rape incident.
I enjoyed the long description of the painting of Troy. In essence, it
allows Shakespeare to review what he finds interesting in the fall of
Troy, even as his poem has a different legend at its core.
I notice in glancing back at my marginal notes on the poem, it's
language kept triggering thoughts of other plays: 106-111 1431-135
Coriolanus, 162-165 785-788 799-800 Macbeth, 664-5 Cymbeline, 1447-1449
1485 Hamlet, 1521 Henry VI part III. At the time, I was simply making
notes of my feelings and reactions, so these references may not be
substantiated by a careful consideration of the texts.
I think the poem is undervalued, and is in most instances the first
discussion by Shakespeare of legendary references that will be referred
to repeatedly in Shakespeare's plays.
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