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ENG336H1 (2)

Lec 1 - The Rape of Lucrece

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Mary Nyquist

9.11.2013 - The Rape of Lucrece "The Rape of Lucrece" is set in Ancient Rome because is a setting that holds great importance for the people of Early Modern Europe. In Shakespeare's time, great importance was given to Roman literature, written in Latin. As reflected in the story of the rape as presented by Shakespeare, great importance was given to the discussion of political issues, and Shakespeare tries to emulate the concept in his rendition of the Classic story. Lucrece is meant to represent the birth of a Republican Rome. For centuries, Rome had been ruled by kings after becoming a city-state. The idea of the city being a self-governing unit was of highest value. However, single-peprson rule is also associated with tyranny. The story of "The Rape of Lucrece" serves as a form of explanation for the removal of the rule of kings, and the instatement of a republic. While, in Athens, the rule of kings was replaced by a version of democracy, Rome opted to use a two-person rule system, where two consuls would rule in collaboration with the Senate. In the story of Lucrece, Brutus the Elder becomes the first consul. Such an explanation is not presented in Shakespeare's version of "Lucrece" because in his time, the knowledge of Roman history was common among the people. The people would have understood the co
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