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p. 433. The Rape of Lucrecelocked

  • Jonathan F. S. Post

Abstract

The Rape of Lucrece’ considers the range of sources—and their particular emphases—that Shakespeare may have drawn on when writing his poem, published in 1594: Livy’s Roman civic history; Ovid’s lures of the emotions; and Chaucer’s Lucrece as the exemplary, loyal wife. Shakespeare broadened, deepened, and updated the known outlines of the story, selecting and expanding what he needed to fit the stylistic and thematic needs of the poem and the expectations of its readers. The result is a profoundly thoughtful poem, exploring the psyches of both villain and victim in greater depth and concentration than even his experience in the theatre had yet allowed.

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