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ENG220Y1 - Rape of Lucrece - Lecture Notes.docx

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Elizabeth Harvey

ENG220Y1 – LECTURE NOTES September 11, 2013: Introduction to the “Rape of Lucrece”  Shakespeare was instrumental in building the matrix of English language  he furnishes a window into a historical period that saw the emergence of the modern human subject  deals with human relation to world and cosmos  themes of kinship, parent-child bonds, rivalry, incest, desire, betrayal, nature of authorship, creative genius and more  we can learn the philosophical ideas of the time, the religion, science and ethics  learn about intellectual ideas of the time  people at the time learned through imitation and making the copies their own; digesting others' ideas and making it their own  rape is a popular topic  the rape of Lucrece is a visually poem, images are created via metaphors and what not  poem was written in 1594 because the theaters were closed  Shakespeare’s livelihood was ruined or postponed because of the bubonic plague  populations were reduced  fear of contagion  caused by fleas on rats  if one was infected, them and their family would be barred up in their homes  the first measure once the plague spread was to close the theatres  the dedicatory page is to Henry Wriothesely, third earl of south Hampton  beliefs that they had a more intimate relationship  first 157 sonnets are dedicated to a man, might be henry too  patronage = complex system of financial and social support, political protection and often linked to literary coteries, social prestige and preferment  henry participated in the above; had money and power, people like this would serve as producers for those who wrote plays, providing lodges and what not  henry supported Shakespeare, therefore dedication could be a way to get the "producers" attention to give them more money  sources of the poem: Livy, history of Rome and Ovid, Fasti  background in 509 BCE o Sextus Tarquinius, son of the king of Rome, raped Lucretia and she committed suicide and the display of her dead body incited the revolt that resulted in the deposition and exile of the Tarquins and the founding of the roman republic  an important political and erotic story  why did Shakespeare choose to decide to use the history to write the poem? o during this time, it was the rebirth of looking into the past o past writers were exemplary models for the people of the time, people to be emulated o there are also political implications, the consolidation of power is connected to the portrait of the ruler and his lineage, circumstances of his day featured a monarchy that was trying to justify itself The Monarchy of England  lineage of Henry VIII, complicated lineage; son was Edward VI  died young and was replaced by Mary Tudor, she ruled and her ruling was problematic = made everyone convert to Catholicism  she was succeeded by her sister queen Elizabeth  during the time, the Spanish decided to attack Britain but a great storm came and most of their ships were destroyed at the rocks on the shore; so no fight occurred  pearl is a symbol of purity  the virgin queen e is a metaphor for England that was impenetrable by spain because she has boundaries as well  virgin queen at the time of writing the rape poem  renaissance pedagogy = how people learned, education  renaissance humanism = grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry, moral philosophy  period is the birth of capitalism, a moment where humans are aware of themselves in terms of modernity  time period is an emergent modern society Language of the poem:  meter and verse form called rime royal o 7 line stanza of iambic pentameter to please "the wiser sort"  there is also Petrarchan language o idiom of desire = blazon = see it as a catalogue of attributes of a woman, o describing beauty o creates horrific image, makes it literal o Shakespeare did it in sonnet 130 o blazon can also mean a shield/ coats of arms = patriarchic importance; became more metaphorical during shakespeare's time The Beginning:  there is competition on the virtues about their wives  using language to describe them  ekphrasis = describing a work of art  poem uses language to persuade and to describe their wives  can't decide who is most virtuous  lust for Lucretia is inflamed by her virtue  Lucretia reveals the name of her rapist and then killed herself  kingdom changed from kings to noblemen?  Francesco Petrarch o famous lover o falls in love with Laura o writes about her o connection to Daphne and Apollo o Daphne turns to a laurel tree o theme of the unattainable like this girl Laura o theme of erotic love and capture as well o lady in his poem is the object of adoration but is inaccessible, being unattainable is a part of the desire o desire generates poem therefore; unrequited desire fuels the poetry  burning ice and snow is a famous oxymoron also used in the poem to show impossibility  Petrarch’s poem is 14 lines divided into an octave and sestet separated by a Volta  language refers to desire, unattainable love object, blazon, oxymoronic formulations  the court at the same reflects this theme of the unattainable  poems begins in prose and them in poetics  intertext, get definition  (1-7) = using verse emphasizes his loss of control, and lack of punctuation as well  Shakespeare is a master of using verbs  (8-21) = the bragging of lucretia cataylzes the attraction; the rhetric description is the spark of tarquin's desire; refers to the blazon rhetoric of red and white  women in the period has less self-determination than us today  ironic that a women is ruling the state at this time  the women in shakespeare's works are some of the most powerful women in literature  (29-42) = beauty is persuasion that needs no language (ex: princess dianna; sympathy of the world was on her side, beauty was a powerful auritory, didnt need to speak really)  being a writer was declasse during the time; regarded as a past time only  "publisher...jewel" = the idea the lucretia should have been unknown  chasity became the cornerstone and insurance of patriarchy  sir philip sidney = poetry is an art of imitation, a mimesis, representing, counterfieting or figuring forth to speak metaphorically, a speaking picture with this end, to teach and delight  ecphirasis = device in which one medium of art ..... get definition  (43-49) = physiology of the passions o desire originates in the organs o relates to the humors by Hippocrates and Galen o also shows the theme of the uncontrollable o can't control the biology of the human body  (50-77) = being raped in the beginning o rape happens via prolepsis o poem is saturated with violence, contest of boasting/bragging or red vs white o used to show all the emotion o contest between two men over the body of the women o second stanza language is heraldry and refers to blazon o war between Lucrece and Tarquin, Lucrece’s husband and Tarquin, Lucrece and her husband, between two colours  prolepsis = jumping ahead to a place before you actually get there; another word for foreshadowing  (92-105) = theme of the gaze o she thinks nothing bad, very naive when they gaze at each other o a description of her innocence o Tarquin's thoughts are described as an open book but she can't read or understand his intentions o refers to doubleness, something beyond what we can see on the outside; idea of interiority that is not opened to the world like Lucrece is o Tarquin has the ability of deception that is
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