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The Rape of Lucrece

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By: (1564-1616)

The Rape of Lucrece (1594) is a narrative poem by William Shakespeare about the legendary Lucretia. Lucrece draws on the story described in both Ovid's Fasti and Livy's history of Rome. In 509 BC, Sextus Tarquinius, son of Tarquin, the king of Rome, raped Lucretia (Lucrece), wife of Collatinus, one of the king's aristocratic retainers. As a result, Lucrece committed suicide. Her body was paraded in the Roman Forum by the king's nephew. This incited a full-scale revolt against the Tarquins led by Lucius Junius Brutus, the banishment of the royal family, and the founding of the Roman republic.

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THE RAPE OF LUCRECE

by William Shakespeare

THE RAPE OF LUCRECE

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE HENRY WRIOTHESLY,

EARL OF SOUTHAMPTON, AND BARON OF TITCHFIELD.

THE love I dedicate to your Lordship is without end; whereof this pamphlet, without beginning, is but a superfluous moiety. The warrant I have of your honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored lines, makes it assured of acceptance. What I have done is yours; what I have to do is yours; being part in all I have, devoted yours. Were my worth greater, my duty would show greater; meantime, as it is, it is bound to your Lordship, to whom I wish long life, still lengthened with all happiness.

Your Lordship's in all duty, WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

THE ARGUMENT.

LUCIUS TARQUINIUS (for his excessive pride surnamed Superbus), after he had caused his own father in law, Servius Tullius, to be cruelly murdered, and, contrary to the Roman laws and customs, not requiring or staying for the people's suffrages, had possessed himself of the kingdom, went, accompanied with his sons and other noblemen of Rome, to besiege Ardea... Continue reading book >>


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