Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor's Name

Peggy Endel

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Donald Watson

Third Advisor's Name

James Sutton

Date of Defense

3-31-2000

Abstract

In The Rape of Lucrece, Shakespeare anatomizes Lucrece's body-fragments the whole, splits apart the parts. He does so not only to expose the otherwise concealed act of rape-which is hidden within the mysterious and "invisible" female genitalia-but to indicate that Lucrece's parts, through analogy with Pagan and Christian figures and theories, are powerful, even combative, but always pure.

In the first section, individual body parts connect Lucrece with so-called "wild women," including the Amazons, Medusa, and Philomela. In the second section, body parts either link Lucrece, or sever Tarquin, from the Divine. In the final section, Classical Mythology and Protestantism conflate in the dis-embodied figure of Helen of Troy. The body-Lucrece's, Tarquin's and the figures on the tapestry-is explored in metaphorical parts, dismembered, or apotheosized/de-corporealized in an attempt to prove that a raped woman may retain her subjectivity along with her innocence.

Identifier

FI14051173

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