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Open AccessArticle

Raison d’état, Religion, and the Body in The Rape of Lucrece

The Graduate Center, City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10016-4309, USA
For their learned and generous remarks on an earlier draft of this essay, I am indebted to my colleagues Mario DiGangi, Rich McCoy, and Tanya Pollard, as well as to David Urban and this journal’s anonymous readers.
Religions 2019, 10(7), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10070426
Received: 4 June 2019 / Revised: 5 July 2019 / Accepted: 7 July 2019 / Published: 13 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religions in Shakespeare's Writings)
With an emphasis on the religious figuration of its heroine’s chaste body, the present essay explores the political dynamics of The Rape of Lucrece. The poem draws on Roman religion and Christianity: Lucrece is an emblem of purity, with echoes of the flaminica or Vestal virgins, and her spotlessness anticipates Christ’s. Seeing these qualities allows us to engage the poem’s gender dynamics and its politics, with both of these being centered on issues of property. While The Rape of Lucrece has been enlisted as an artifact of late Elizabethan republican culture, its depiction of the expulsion of the Tarquins need not lead us to that conclusion. It is nonetheless a product of the political anxieties of Elizabeth’s final years. View Full-Text
Keywords: Shakespeare; The Rape of Lucrece; republicanism; raison d’état; religion; property; body Shakespeare; The Rape of Lucrece; republicanism; raison d’état; religion; property; body
MDPI and ACS Style

Mohamed, F.G. Raison d’état, Religion, and the Body in The Rape of Lucrece. Religions 2019, 10, 426.

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