Rape and Civilization in Shakespeare's Rome

12 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2014

See all articles by Michael S. Kochin

Michael S. Kochin

Tel Aviv University - Political Science

Katherine Philippakis

Farella Braun + Martel LLP

Date Written: July 28, 2012

Abstract

We explore Shakespeare's understanding of civil life through his accounts of rape and the beginning and the end of civil life in his fictional Rome. In Shakespeare's poem The Rape of Lucrece, the rape of Lucretia or "Lucrece" leads to the abolition of kingship and the founding of the Roman Republic. We will concentrate, however on Titus Andronicus, in which the rape of Lavinia produces the triumph of barbarism at Rome, barbarism under the guise of romanitas or "Romanness." The question is what can we salvage for civil life, for civility or civilization, by the encounter with Rome and Romanness as presented in Titus Andronicus.

Keywords: Shakespeare, Ovid, rape, gender, Lucretia, reception history

Suggested Citation

Kochin, Michael S. and Philippakis, Katherine, Rape and Civilization in Shakespeare's Rome (July 28, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2430127 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2430127

Michael S. Kochin (Contact Author)

Tel Aviv University - Political Science ( email )

Tel-Aviv, 69978
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://www.tau.ac.il/~kochin

Katherine Philippakis

Farella Braun + Martel LLP ( email )

235 Montgomery Street, 17th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
United States

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