The (Un)speakability of Rape: Shakespeare’s Lucrece and Lavinia

Laura Stampler English Honors Thesis Stanford University May 14, 2010 Thesis Advisor: David Riggs

The (Un)Speakability of Rape: Shakespeare’s Lucrece and Lavinia

Laura Stampler Stanford University May 14, 2010 Thesis Advisor: Prof. David Riggs

Cover picture: Titian’s Rape of Lucretia (Tarquin and Lucretia)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements………………………………………………. 1 Introduction………………………........................……………..... 2 Chapter One: Lucrece…………………………………………….. 7 Chapter Two: Lavinia…………………………………………….. 39 Conclusion………………………………………………………... 60 Works Cited………………………………………………………. 65

Acknowledgments I would first like to thank my thesis advisor, Professor David Riggs, for his constant support, willingness to edit and discuss, and passion for the subject matter. I cannot imagine this process without your mentorship. I would also like to thank the other Stanford professors who assisted me with the research and writing stages of the paper: Professor Norbert Lain for his theories on the Rape of Lucrece, and Prof. Patricia Parker who generously offered her time and immense Shakespearean knowledge. Thank you Prof. Alex Woloch and Hilton Obenzinger for your help during the fall. Thanks also must go out to my Major Advisor, Prof. Elizabeth Tallent, who has supported my academic endeavors and personal growth since my freshman year. Thank you for encouraging me to write a thesis about something that I was passionate about. Finally, I must thank my family and friends. An especially large thanks goes to Mom and Dad for your love, encouragement, intelligence, and willingness to drop anything to take a stressed out call or listen to an idea about a chapter. Without all of you, this would have never been possible.

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Introduction Introduction You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. - Maya Angelou In 1594, a year in which Shakespeare was establishing his own literary voice and identity as a dramatist, he saw two of his earliest tragedies come into print. The young playwright completed Titus Andronicus and The Rape of Lucrece, two works that gave voice to the marginalized characters of Lavinia and Lucrece. Up until 1594, Shakespeare had only produced the Henry IV plays, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and perhaps The Taming of the Shrew. January 23, 1594 at The Rose Theatre is the first known date and location that Titus Andronicus was produced. Philip Henslowe was the owner of the theater, and one of his receipts serves as the first historical record of Titus Andronicus. The play’s first quarto was then published by John Danter on February 6 of that same year. Three months later, on May 9, The Rape of Lucrece was licensed for printing by Richard Field. Later in 1594, Shakespeare joined the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.1 His phase as an apprentice was complete. Both Titus Andronicus and The Rape of Lucrece focus on heroines who have their roles as pure and archetypal females in Roman society stolen from them when they are victims of brutal rapes. As rape victims in their patriarchal societies -- both Lavinia and Lucrece are citizens of ancient Rome but are written by Shakespeare for an Elizabethan audience -- the two characters lose their fundamental function in society. In fact, there
David Riggs, Shakebase, 2004, Stanford University Department of English, 3 May 2010 <http://www.stanford.edu/dept/english/cgi-bin/shakebase/>.
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Introduction was a strong belief in Roman times that the pollution of women’s honor could be transferred to their families, forever shaming their names.2 Their rapists were fully aware of the ramifications of rape, that the act of rape would erase the female victim from society in terms of the respected role which she had previously held. The consequences of rape often erased the female from existence as well; the suicide of a rape victim was deemed the honorable and appropriate course through which the victim could expunge her dishonor.3 Shakespeare focuses on the dilemma that Lavinia and Lucrece face when approaching their new status as victims of rape rather than as spotless daughter and wife. The effects of the crimes against them carry both emotional and physical ramifications. Whereas the women were once beautiful, their physical appearance is now contaminated by their spoiled purity. Whereas they were once chaste, they are now defiled. But, interestingly, whereas they were once rhetorically inoffensive, even reticent, a favored trait for women in their societies, they now find a voice with which they learn to express the full range of their emotions and come to terms with their altered state of victim-hood. Thus, even though Lavinia and Lucrece lose their once impeccable identities and cherished roles within their societies, Shakespeare endows them with more complex and individualistic identities, supplying them with the rhetorical and communicative skills to gain ownership of their interiority and cathartically express it to others in an act of catharsis. Their predicament is especially poignant given the uncertainty and inexpressibility of the crime of rape against a woman in Roman and Elizabethan legal
Ian Donaldson, The Rapes of Lucretia: A Myth and Its Transformations (Oxford: Clarendon, 1982) 23. 3 Ibid. 12.
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Introduction contexts. While in contemporary Western society, rape is seen as an intimate and personal crime against the victim’s body and person, this was not the case in the period from or about which Shakespeare wrote. Given the structure of ancient Roman society, the violated woman was not fully embraced as the victim of the crime, for rape was seen as an iniuria publica, a public wrong, rather than an iniuria privita, a private wrong.4 The word “rape” comes from the Latin verb “rapere” which means, “to seize or take by force.”5 In the words of a Roman legal dictionary, “raptus” was defined as “The abduction of a woman against the will of her parents. The abductor (raptor) was punished with death from the time of Constatntine, under whom raptus became a crimen publicum and so was the woman (until Justinian) when she had consented.”6 Thus, rape was considered a property crime against male prerogative rather than a crime against the female body as the law was codified after time of the rape of Lucrece, which directly led to the beginning of the Roman Republic. As Cicero wrote in 46 BC, even though it was unquestionable that Sextus Tarquinus did “break that eternal Law by violating Lucretia,” there was actually “no written law against rape at Rome in the reign of Lucius Tarquinius.” 7 Therefore, rape was a crime that led to great emotional pain and likely the death of the victim, be it at her own hand or that of her rapist, but it was not viewed by the society as a crime against the woman. Ovid’s classical depiction of the rape of Philomela in the Metamorphoses informs Shakespeare’s exploration of a rape victim’s emotional trajectory following her assault.
George Mousourakis, The Historical and Institutional Context of Roman Law (Burlington: Ashgate Press, 2003) 30. <http://www.google.books.com>. 5 Adolf Berger, Encyclopedic Dictionary on Roman Law (Philadelphia: The American Philosophical Society, 1991) 667. <http://google.books.com>. 6 Ibid. 667. 7 Cicero, The Republic The Laws, Trans: Niall Rudd (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998) 126. <http://www.googlebooks.com>.
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Introduction When the virgin Philomela is raped by her brother-in-law, Tereus, on a trip to visit her sister, the now stained Princess of Athens rebukes her attacker with the passionate verses: The day will come, or late or very soon When you shall find just payment for your crimes. I’ll tell the world how you have ravished me, And if you keep me here within the forest, I’ll make each rock, each stone weep with my story, And if God lives, heaven and He shall hear it.8 Believing that she has nothing left to lose, the once soft-spoken Philomela promises to explore the reaches of her voice and communicate her narrative to all who will listen, animate and inanimate, mortal and holy. Threatened with exposure as a rapist, Tereus cuts out Philomel’s tongue in an attempt to make it possible to decry his crime – making the rape a literally unspeakable act. But although Philomela cannot tell her story through words, she embraces visual and artistic forms of expression. Taking control over her identity, she weaves a pictographic story of the crime that has occurred to show to her sister, Procne. Flung into a bacchic rage of madness,9 the two women decide to kill Tereus’ children (who are the sons of Procne, the nephews of Philomela) and feed them to Tereus. Philomela communicates her story through physical art and her anger through body movements. The victim becomes a performance artist, “her wild hair/ Flying, leaped up to him, tossing the boy’s/ Blood-dabbed head into his face.”10 During the women’s escape from the enraged Tereus, the gods take pity and turn them into birds so that Philomela, whose name translates to “lovely song” in Greek, can forever sing her story as a nightingale.

Ovid, The Metamorphoses, Trans: Horace Gregory (New York: Signet, 2009) 179. Jane O. Newman, ""And Let Mild Women to Him Lose Their Mildness": Philomela, Female Violence, and Shakespeare's The Rape of Lucrece," Shakespeare Quarterly Vol.45 No.3 (1994) 316. <jstor.org>. 10 Ovid. 182.
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Introduction Shakespeare adopts many of these conventions that enabled a forcibly silenced victim of rape to express her sorrow, outrage, and inner-life through both expanded speech and performative means of communication. The rapists of Titus Andronicus and The Rape of Lucrece try to quiet their victims with varying degrees of severity. Taking note of Tereus’ failure, Chiron and Demetrius violently dismember Lavinia, severing her tongue and her arms, so that she is unable to communicate either through speech or sign. Tarquin, on the other hand, attempts to constrain Lucrece’s ability to communicate through veiled threats and shaming techniques. But whatever the methods that render their experiences of victim-hood unspeakable, both Lavinia and Lucrece find the strength within themselves that enables them to overcome their oppressors and work through their grief through various forms of self-expression. By telling their stories, the women are able to seek retribution for the crimes committed against them. The different literary forms of Titus Andronicus and The Rape of Lucrece – the first is a play and the second a narrative poem – highlight the varying ways in which victimized women can communicate their suffering. These works allow the victims the ability to express themselves in the manner that best fits their circumstances. In Titus, a staged production, Lavinia must become a performance artist, using her body to get down on the ground and hungrily grasp a staff in her mouth. Lucrece, however, exists within the realm of a narrative poem, meant to be read by the literate elite, which better serves her private drama of spoken and inner monologue. Be it through speech, movement, art, song, or literary allusion, Lavinia and Lucrece are both able to overcome efforts to silence them when they take control of their situations and become the authors of their own fates.

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Lucrece Chapter One: Lucrece

The story of the rape of Lucrece far predates the Shakespearean era. Painters, poets, dramatists, and historians have immortalized the tale as a seminal human drama underlying the birth of an empire. According to the historical legend, under the veil of night, Sextus Tarquinius, son of the Roman king, breaks into the bedchamber of Lucretia, a fellow Roman officer’s wife. Prompted first by Collatinus’ boasting of his wife’s chastity and then by his own observation of her incandescent beauty, Tarquinius forcibly rapes Lucretia. A woman who once functioned as an exemplar of the virtuous Roman wife, the violated Lucretia tells her husband, her father, and their fellow soldier Brutus, which literally translates to “dullard,” of Tarquinius’ crime and then kills herself. Seeing the opportunity, Brutus pulls the still warm knife from Lucrece’s lifeless body and by that very weapon swears to overthrow the Tarquin royal family. Rallying the Roman people around Lucretia’s limp body, Brutus begins a revolution that leads to the exile of the Roman royalty from the country.11 Thus Brutus ends the Roman monarchy and establishes the Roman Republic in its place – a republic that would last 450 years and inspire and inform the foundation of governments for millennia to come. As Seneca states in his Consolation to Marcia, “To Brutus we owe liberty, but to Lucretia we owe Brutus.”12 Brutus, who became one of the first consuls of Rome alongside Collatinus, incited the Roman people to action in 509 BC directly and

This is the outline of the story of the rape of Lucretia as presented by numerous classical historians including Livy, Ovid, Dionysius, Diodorus, etc. 12 Lucius Annasus Seneca, “On Consolation to Marcia,” Moral Essays Trans. John W. Basore. (London: Loeb Classical Library, 1928-35). <http://stoics.com/seneca_essays_book_2. html>.

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Lucrece explicitly because the king’s son had violated Lucretia. Thus, Seneca honors Lucretia, for it is her rape and consequent suicide that serves as the catalyst that inspired men to political action. When Seneca writes of Lucretia’s role, it is in relation to Brutus, the revolutionary, and in the context of the Roman revolution. In a modern context, rape is understood to be a personal and intimate offense. The scope of its effect is small as it rests primarily within the interiority of the rape victim and with those who are closest to her. Historically, the exploration of Lucrece’s rape has not taken her inner experience into account. The classical sources examined in this paper demonstrate that for the early writers, Lucretia’s experience serves primarily as a vehicle that incites political change. In Livy and Ovid’s retelling of the rape of Lucrece, in Fasti II and The History of Rome from its Foundations, respectively, Lucretia is not given space within the lines of text to process the crime that has been committed against her, to register her suffering. In Livy’s historical account, the narrative cuts immediately from Lucretia’s rape -- Tarquin riding away, “proud of his success” -- to the victim summoning Collatinus, Brutus, her father, and Valerious to explain the crime that has occurred, followed by her suicide. Lucretia is resolute in her determination to kill herself, and she does so without question or self-analysis. Even after Brutus’ and Collatinus’ attempt to assuage her sense of guilt, blaming Tarquinus completely for the crime, Lucretia is aghast. They can do with him what they will, she states, but “Never shall Lucretia provide a precedent for unchaste women to escape what they deserve.”13 Even in death, Livy establishes Lucretia as a feminine ideal who wants to serve as an exemplary figure. Adultery – and to Livy’s
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Livy, The History of Rome from its Foundations, Trans. Aubrey De Selincourt (New York: Penguin, 1971) 83. <http://www.google..books.com>.

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Lucrece mind even the non-volitional adultery occasioned by forcible rape – was an offense that was punishable by death in Roman society, and Lucretia chooses to set an example for Roman women as a whole.14 For her, such things are unequivocal. There is not a moment of hesitation, for “with these words she drew a knife from under her robe, drove it into her heart, and fell forward, dead,” forever to symbolize both the honorable Roman Empire and virtuous Roman womanhood. This is not to suggest that Livy shows Lucretia as entirely unfeeling. She is described as “unhappy,” “in deep distress,” and as having “tears” in her eyes; however, this is all that is provided of her internal suffering.15 Although Ovid does linger more substantially than Livy on Lucretia’s inner monologue when Tarquinius first breaks into her room and she realizes what is about to occur, providing her with more interiority, he, too, moves directly from the scene of her rape to the scene with her father and husband. Ovid writes: Now day had dawned: she sat with hair unbound, Like a mother who must go to her son’s funeral. She called her aged father and her loyal husband From the camp, and both came without delay.16 What is important to note about Ovid and Livy’s stylistic choices here is that they never give readers the opportunity to see Lucretia alone. She is never unaccompanied or uninfluenced by the physical presence of men, be it a male attacker or a patriarch. She never exists entirely in her own context and is never seen coming to terms with her experience as a rape victim. Thus, even though Lucretia is depicted here as an important figure, she is not allowed to be complex character.

Carol D. Williams. “‘Silence, Like a Lucrece Knife’: Shakespeare and the Meanings of Rape.” The Yearbook of English Studies Vol.23 (1993) 95. <Jstor.org>. 15 Livy 83. 16 Ovid, Fasti, Trans: A.J. Boyle and R.D. Woodard (London: Penguin Group, 2000) 204.

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Lucrece The early authors and artists studied here represent Lucretia as a symbol for the Roman Republic rather than as a three-dimensional character. As scholar Ian Donaldson writes, “the agent in this story is a man, Brutus; Lucretia, the woman, merely suffers.”17 Yet even Lucretia’s suffering in these works is examined only through the lens of a patriarchal society. Her suffering is important not because of its effect on Lucretia herself, but rather because of its larger scale and broader impact on the Roman people as a whole. Sandro Botticelli’s Renaissance masterpiece The Tragedy of Lucretia illustrates this perspective18:

The painting is broken into three different panels. The left-hand scene depicts Tarquinius entering a resistant Lucretia’s home, weapon unsheathed. The right-hand scene shows Lucretia’s collapsed body, held up by her shocked male relations. The central scene, which accounts for most of the space on the canvas, is a representation of Lucretia’s dead body on display for the Roman soldiers. Brutus literally stands over her body, exhorting the men into revolt. This is the primary – literally the central -- focus of the painting; the

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Donaldson 10. Sandro Botticelli, The Tragedy of Lucretia, 1496-1504.

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Lucrece dead Lucretia’s impact on the soldiers is the overarching message of the artwork. Viewers do not see her suffering; they do not see her transformation from pure to polluted. It is William Shakespeare’s narrative poem, The Rape of Lucrece, that grants Lucrece the written space not only to suffer but also to contemplate and understand the crime that has been committed against her body and her person. Just as Hamlet faces the paradigm of “to be or not to be,” so Shakespeare allows Lucrece to vacillate between her potential trajectories as a rape victim in her society and to consider her course of action. Livy and Ovid omit this crucial step entirely, suggesting that in Lucretia’s mind, it is a given that she will kill herself and that she will do so after announcing her crime to her male family members. Shakespeare, however, dedicates 833 lines to the period between the moment when Tarquin leaves Lucrece’s chamber after the rape to the point when the messenger brings Collatine and his entourage home upon Lucrece’s command. In this middle portion of his poem, Shakespeare grants Lucrece the right to come to terms with her experience and seizer her identity as a victim of sexual assault. While her ideas are undeniably imbued with the realities of the patriarchal society in which she exists, she is still able to find her own voice as a woman and as a victim. While Lucrece’s rape and suicide serve as two key moments of the Shakespeare’s poem, Lucrece’s complexity is revealed in the intermittent text between those two points. In fact, C.S. Lewis wrote that the lines that come before the rape in which Shakespeare describes Collatine’s foolishly bragging about his wife’s unsurpassable beauty and chastity, a speech which Joel Fineman claims leads directly to Lucrece’s rape,19 were
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Joel Fineman, “Shakespeare’s Will: The Temporality of Rape.” Representations, No.20 (Autumn, 1987): 31 <http://www.jstor.org>.

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Lucrece “three stanzas of digression.”20 While Livy described Collatine’s hubristic description of his wife at great length, Shakespeare discusses it briefly. Furthermore, Lewis even believes that this male focused portion was less fascinating than the careful analysis of Lucrece’s inner turmoil. As Donaldson continues his analysis of Shakespeare’s interpretation of the story he writes, “No other version of the Lucretia story explores more minutely or with greater psychological insight the mental processes of the two major characters [Tarquin and Lucrece], their inconsistent wavering to and fro, before they bring themselves finally to reluctant action.”21 The narrative form of his poem allows Shakespeare to use direct and indirect dialogue. The narrator explores Lucrece’s spoken and unspoken convictions and hesitations in great depth. As Livy and Ovid recount the legend, Lucrece has a less substantial inner life that is revealed to the readership. Even though Shakespeare’s Lucrece remains constrained by her society’s expectations for an ideal female character, the Bard allows Lucrece to establish her own individual interiority. Thus, her suicide is “reluctant” rather than a given, as it was represented in the preceding classical works.22 This chapter will examine how Lucrece, who is endowed with a spoken and narrative voice which Lavinia is denied after her tongue is cut from her mouth, uses verbal and non-verbal forms of communication, including art, songs, and physical movement similar to theatrical expression or performance art, to come to terms with her identity as a victim, thus allowing her to be presented to the reader as a more fully realized, more richly dimensional woman.

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Williams 109. Donaldson 44. 22 Donaldson 8.

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Lucrece At the beginning of the poem, when Lucrece exists on the page as pure and undefiled, able to fully embrace her title as “Lucrece the chaste” with her body and soul (7), she very much falls in line with the characteristics that define the silent female archetype. Before her body is polluted by Tarquin’s sexual assault and her role as honorable wife is called into question, Lucrece does not communicate through vocalization but rather through bodily expression. In fact, up until her rape, the narrator’s description of Lucrece relies entirely on her physical attributes and movements, as she says not a word until she is forced to do so in order to stave off her rapist. Until then, Lucrece masters the art of nonverbal communication. When Tarquin enters her house in the guise of a solicitous guest and friend to her husband, praising Collatine’s chivalry, Lucrece responds not with words but rather expresses her immense joy through physical action; she “wordless so greets heaven for [Collatine’s] success” (120). This graceful form of signed communication is consistent throughout her naively innocent encounter with the man who later rapes her. When Tarquin, lost in deliberation over whether or not he should carry out the rape, recounts their conversation, he lingers on: How her fear did make her color rise! First red as roses that on lawn we lay, Then white as lawn, the roses took away. And how her hand in my hand being locked Forced it to tremble with her loyal fear! Which struck her sad, and then it faster rocked Until her husband’s welfare she did hear; Whereat she smiled with so sweet a cheer” (256-64) Lucrece speaks via hand gestures, in small movements and in smiles. When he describes her, Tarquin does not recall speech -- the reader has yet to hear Lucrece’s voice -- but rather her emotions that are conveyed through bodily movement and facial expressions that are both innocuous and alluring. Here Tarquin’s ruminations transform Lucrece into

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Lucrece a work of art. Her face is palate on which painted-on blushing reds and fearful whites interact and play off one another to communicate a story. Lucrece’s emotion is registered through her beauty and her coloring. This is not the first time that the chaste and silent figure has been described in such visual and vibrant terms. Earlier in the poem, Shakespeare writes that “when virtue bragged, beauty would blush for shame;/ When beauty boasted blushes, in despite/ Virtue would stain that o’er with silver white” (54-6). As the reds and whites stand in contrast to one another, they fight a “silent war of lilies and roses” (71). Even the clashing colors battle each other in silence. As Lucrece’s reactions are entirely linked to her allegiance to and empathy for her husband, and concern for his welfare, Tarquin finds her expressions of loyalty captivating and provocative. Tarquin’s desire for Lucrece is based both on physical attraction and competition with Collatine, who has bragged about his wife’s beauty. It is fascinating that Tarquin’s recollection of Lucrece fearfully clutching onto his hand when she hears about danger to her husband is one of the factors that launches Tarquin towards his final decision to rape the chaste Lucrece (for before this point in the poem, Tarquin was still debating the crime; but after, he is resolute) because it is handholding that seals the fate of another innocent Shakespearean heroine. In The Winter’s Tale, when Leontes witnesses his wife Hermione holding Polixenes’ hand while speaking to Polixenes in private, it that “hot” action that convinces Leontes that she has been unfaithful, and thus Leontes decides to sentence his wife to death (1.2.107). Even the innocent gesture of handholding by the faithful and chaste can doom them. Shakespeare makes it unequivocally clear that Lucrece herself is an innocent victim who resists her rapist at every stage of the attack. As Tarquin breaks into

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Lucrece Lucrece’s bedchamber, wandering from the outer courtyards to the inner rooms of the house, “each unwilling portal yields him way” (309). Nature and Lucrece’s property are thus depicted as resistant to his incursion, but nevertheless they yield. Lucrece, herself, never yields. Tarquin attempts many different rhetorical tactics to gain Lucrece’s consent. Tarquin threatens Lucrece’s eternal honor, swearing that if she does not consent, he will murder both her and a male slave, placing their two dead bodies naked in bed to be found next to one another with the appearance of sexual impropriety, Livy writes that “Lucretia yielded”23 and Ovid that “Overcome by fear for her reputation, the girl was conquered.”24 Unlike Ovid and Livy’s Lucrece, Shakespeare’s Lucrece doesn’t ever allow herself to be conquered but was forcibly overpowered to the end. She refuses Tarquin both physically and verbally. It is only when Lucrece comes to believe that spoken words are her only possible defense against her stronger assailant that she finds her voice. When Ovid’s Tarquinius prompts Lucretia to speak, she cannot. But when Tarquin threatens Shakespeare’s Lucrece, saying that he will ruin her family name by concocting a story of adultery that will be “sung by children in succeeding times” (523), slowly Lucrece begins to speak, first with “her pity pleading eyes” (561) but then with her voice. Lucrece’s first speech to Tarquin comes as a struggle, “her accent breaks… twice doth she begin” (566-7), but when she is finally able to launch her plea, her language unfolds with eloquence and grace. Lucrece’s arguments are not only fluent and well-phrased, but rhetorically sound. Just as Tarquin employs many tactics to try to convince Lucrece to concede, so does Lucrece demonstrate flexibility and range in her efforts to stave off her attacker.
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Livy 83. Ovid 204.

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Lucrece Lucrece appeals to Tarquin with “sighs like whirlwinds… woman’s moans… my tears, my sighs, my groans” (586-8), begging for him to show compassion. She cries out to him directly, “To thee, to thee, my heaved-up hands appeal” (638), raising her arms towards heaven, punctuating her speech with her fluid physical motions. She uses the rhetorical device of repetition, connoting a desperate plea. She then appeals to his conscience, which has been conflicted throughout the poem, as she indicts his decency as a man and as royalty. It is at this point that Tarquin stops her speech, warning that his “uncontrolled tide/ Turns not, but swells the higher by this let” (645-6), implying that her verbal resistance only amplifies his lust. Jocelyn Catty writes, “it is clear both that verbal resistance is the only kind open to her and that this resistance is ineffectual, not just because it is met with physical violence but because its effect on the rapist is erotically arousing.”25 While analysis is consistent with what Tarquin expresses to Lucrece, there is an alternate explanation for Tarquin’s declaration that Lucrece’s protests only make him more determined in his lust. When Lucrece refuses to yield and continues to beg Tarquin for his mercy and to forget his sexual inclinations, “low vassals to thy state” (666), Tarquin cracks. He cannot bear to hear another word from Lucrece and cries “No more… by heaven I will not hear thee” (667). To ensure her silence, Tarquin then physically, forcibly quiets Lucrece “with her own white fleece her voice controlled/ Entombs her outcry in her lips’ sweet fold./ For with the nightly linen that she wears/ He pens her piteous clamors in her head” (678-81). Thus the resistant Lucrece is muted. Tarquin’s action here implies not that he is aroused by Lucrece’s words as much as he
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Jocelyn Catty, Writing Rape, Writing Women in Early Modern England, (GB: Macmillan Press LTD, 1999) 67.

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Lucrece feels shamed by them to the extent that he cannot bear to hear them any longer because his conscience will block his premeditated course of action. Her words have emotional power over him but cannot prevent his sexual brutalization of her. Adding to the trauma of the crime that is being committed against her body, Lucrece is forcibly prevented from using her voice during her actual rape. Instead intended vocalizations “clamor” inside her head. Tarquin stuffs Lucrece’s bed-linens, the same linens that he is about to sully, into her mouth. The act of inserting the bedsheets between Lucrece’s lips mirrors the act of vaginal penetration that is about to occur. Lucrece has only just discovered her voice and the power that it holds, but Tarquin contains it easily on a physical level. During her rape, Lucrece is overpowered by a man both physically and verbally, thus, throughout the remainder of the lyric narrative she must struggle to reassert control over her body and voice. Before fully examining the rhetorical trajectory of the decision-making process that leads to Lucrece’s suicide, it is important for readers to understand the complexities that a female rape victim faced in the Roman historical context. Rape was seen as a property crime against the male possessor as opposed to a physical violation against the female body. When Collatine describes Lucrece to Tarquin, she is his “treasure” (16), his “priceless wealth” (17), his “fortune” (19) and his “rich jewel” (34). This description portrays Lucrece as essentially inanimate, a rich and sparkling cache of riches that can be possessed or even, potentially, stolen. Catharine R. Stimpson writes, “in Shakespeare only well-born women are raped, their violation becomes one of property, status and symbolic worth as well. The greater those values, the greater the sense of power their

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Lucrece conquest confers upon the rapist. Because men rape what other men possess.”26 When Tarquin deliberates about the moral issues of raping Lucrece, he states, “Had Collatinus killed my son or sire,/ Or lain ambush to betray my life,… [I] Might have excuse to work upon his wife” (232-5). This statement suggests that there is a context in which rape would be an excusable action. In this context, Tarquin is in the wrong morally not because he attacks an innocent woman, but rather because her husband has done nothing to warrant a violation of his property rights. Lucrece is not associated as being a part of her own body leading up to and during the rape. This depersonalization can be observed when Tarquin blazons Lucrece’s body directly before the rape. A blazon is text that describes either a shield and/or the human body; it is a rhetorical form of praise that brings the human body into the artistic realm. Critic Nancy Vickers notes Tarquin’s use of heraldry in his description of Lucrece’s face, citing the warring reds and whites on Lucrece’s cheeks as if they were painted on a shield (71).27 When Tarquin enters Lucrece’s room, he breaks down her body into discreet components, depersonalizing her by cataloging her body parts: “her lily hand her rosy cheek,” her lips which he imagines to be “swelling on either side to want his bliss,” “her eyes like marigolds,” “Her hair like golden threads” and finally “Her breasts like ivory globes encircled” (386, 389, 397, 407). His passions rise in a rhetorical crescendo until he can no longer suppress his lust and he grabs her naked breast. Tarquin dissects Lucrece’s body, effectively separating the parts of her body from one another and, through objectification, from Lucrece, the woman, herself. He is the artist, molding and

Catharine R. Stimpson. Where the meanings are: Feminism and Cultural Spaces. (Methuen Inc: NY, 1998) 78. 27 Nancy J. Vickers, “This Heraldry in Lucrece’s Face,” Poetics Today Vol.6 No.1/2 (1985) 178. <http://www.jstor.org>.

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Lucrece reshuffling her being. Given the obvious challenges to Lucrece’s individual identity, Lucrece’s primary struggle is to become her own artist and take charge over her body. Immediately after describing Lucrece’s rape, Shakespeare comments that she “hath lost a dearer thing than life” (687), her chastity. Given her social milieu, this statement is not hyperbolic but reflects Lucrece’s reality. She can no longer serve her function as a model Roman wife. When Lucrece considers her future, she mourns her now “hapless life,” crying out, “O, that is gone for which I sought to live” (1045, 51). It is evident that Collatine did hold Lucrece in high esteem primarily for her purity and untainted beauty. Now, not only her chastity but also her beauty has been diminished. She has been transformed -- her once “lively colour kill’d with deadly cares,” and her once “fair cheeks [now] over-washed with woe” (1592, 1224). Lucrece’s defilement has spread from her interior to her exterior being. All of the qualities for which she was held in high regard have been polluted by the rape. Furthermore, as Ian Donaldson discusses in his book The Rapes of Lucretia, Lucrece is faced with the “transferred pollution” of her shame that will spread to her family. Lucrece’s husband’s and children’s names will be forever tainted by the act that was committed against her. 28 This is the family to whom Lucrece has dedicated her life. Lucrece’s function and purpose has been to provide her family with honor; to shame them would represent failure in her role as a Roman matriarch. Matters for Lucrece and her family are further complicated by the possibility that Lucrece may be pregnant as a result of the rape. Jocelyn Catty describes Early English laws from the Elizabethan period that were set out in The Lawes Resolutions of Womens Rights insofar as they relate to rape law, particularly focusing on the issue of consent and
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Donaldson 23.

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Lucrece pregnancy. At the time, it was believed that a female could not conceive unless she climaxed. This created a paradox in the legal response to women who became pregnant as a result of forcible rape because it was believed that if a woman achieved an orgasm then it must follow that she enjoyed the sexual intercourse and, therefore, must have consented to the sexual act. The Lawes Resolutions, in fact, states that if a woman conceives “there is no rape; for none can conceiue without consent.”29 Even though Shakespeare’s Lucrece very clearly resisted throughout Tarquin’s assault, for an Elizabethan reader, her body could betray her mind. If pregnant, Lucrece would be seen as a willing adulteress (and rape and adultery were viewed as equivalents by Roman eyes). During the relevant period in Rome, the punishment for making one’s husband a cuckold was death.30 If Lucrece conceives during her rape, her pregnancy will not only threaten her own sense of herself, forcing her to ask herself if she could have somehow consented, but her family as well. Tarquin taunts Lucrece when he tells her to imagine “Thy kinsmen hang their heads at this disdain,/ Thy issue blurr’d with nameless bastardy” (521-2)—the shame of a bastard child. In effect, Tarquin is blackmailing Lucrece to keep quiet about her rape. Evidentally this would mean that the child would be raised as her husband’s to avoid familial and personal disgrace. Lucrece takes the possibility of her pregnancy very seriously and during a later lament speaks to the absent Collatine through apostrophe, declaring that “This bastard graff,” this child by Tarquin, "shall never come to growth,/ He shall not boast who did thy stock pollute,/ That thou art doting father of his fruit” (1062-4). The bastard child would not only contaminate her family name, but it would
29 30

Catty 16. Donaldson 24.

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Lucrece also threaten the familial structure as a whole, complicating inheritance and succession.31 The fruit of Tarquin’s loins cannot be allowed to germinate. Lucrece must end the presumptive child’s life, along with her own. This is also interesting because if Lucrece is viewed as an entirely Roman character then this legal concept would not have occurred to her, but if she is Elizabethan, then it would have. Following her rape, Shakespeaer’s Lucrece contemplates her status as a victim, but never questions the fact that her life as she has come to know it is over and that her suicide is necessary. In Roman times, to kill oneself after being raped was customary. Suicide was the honorable course of action. Lucrece is universally depicted as a woman with unyielding conventional values and this stringency defines Lucrece’s reality. Saint Augustine argued against this reasoning, retroactively protesting Roman laws and appealing to the judges’ sensibilities with respect to rape victims’ suicides. In The City of God Against the Pagans, he declares his opposition to Lucrece’s suicide for ““When physical violation has involved no change in the intention of chastity by any consent to the wrong, then the guilt attaches only to the ravisher, and not at all to the woman forcibly ravished without any consent on her part.”32 Under Augustine’s reasoning, only one person, the rapist, committed adultery, yet the innocent soul, the female victim, is punished. But Augustine views Lucrece in terms of Christian doctrine when she exists in a pre-Christian society. While the Christians were more concerned with the state of the soul, the Romans gave greater credence to the importance of pride and of personal property.33

Donaldson 24. Saint Augustine, City of God, Trans: Henry Bettenson (London: Penguin Books, 2003) 28. <http://books.google.com>. 33 Donaldson 50.
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Lucrece Carolyn D. Williams writes that Lucrece exists in the diametrically opposed contexts of “shame” and “guilt” cultures; Rome would value “shame” culture while Augustine and the Christians value “guilt”. Her “shame” lies in the fact that in spite of her protests during the crime, her body was still irrevocably defiled and “her physical condition determines her status.” The state of her “guilt” would be contingent upon the state of the victim’s mind during the attack. Thus her shame de-emphasizes the importance of speech while the alleviation of her guilt depends on it. She must prove to herself that she was not guilty of a crime.34 Hence, when Lucrece speaks about the crime that has been committed against her and the state of her soul after the sexually violation, she is not questioning the inevitability or correctness of her end fate of suicide but rather considering how she is going to get there. John Roe likens Lucrece’s behavior to that of Hamlet insofar as they both experience “self division” due to circumstances outside of their personal control. They both experience ethical dilemmas and use the form of complaint to sort out their reasoning.35 Every aspect of Lucrece’s final fatal act appears to come easily and naturally in Livy and Ovid. But this is not the case for Shakespeare’s Lucrece. To begin with, Lucrece just doesn’t know which course of action she should take, whether to kill herself immediately and alone or later in front of her family. She is unsure how she should communicate her crime, if at all. Through a long process of wavering back and forth, questioning her every belief, Lucrece learns to become the master of her voice and

Williams 94. Mary Jo Kietzman, ““What Is Hecuba to Him or [S]he to Hecuba?” Lucrece’s Complaint and Shakespeare’s Poetic Agency.” Modern Philology, Vol.97, No.1 (Aug., 1999) 22. <http://www.jstor.org>.
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Lucrece convictions even if, in her social context, she is helpless, in a situation that mandates death by her own hand. Immediately following her rape, Lucrece is reduced to a primal speechless and animalistic state. Lying ravished on the ground, Lucrece “like a wearied lamb lies panting there,” unable to catch her breath or speak a word (737). She then, “desperate, with her nails her flesh does tear” in an attempt to scratch away what both she and her society perceive as her fault, her beauty, and to further mar her newly ruined body (739). But, now that her mouth is no longer stuffed, Lucrece cannot stay silent for long. Lucrece, for the first time completely alone, has space and freedom to explore her emotional state through a rambling and confused monologue, which is how Shakespeare registers her confusion. Testing the limits of her rhetorical abilities, Lucrece’s first statements are surprising given her hitherto pure and moral character. Likening Tarquin to the night, she wishes him to rape the “silver-shining queen,” the moon, and the stars, “her twinkling handmaids too,” so that she will have “co-partners in [her] pain” (786, 787, 789). Modern psychologists tell us that victims of assault experience various stages of anger before reaching acceptance.36 Therefore, it is understandable that Lucrece would behave in a manner that is darker and out of character. Deeply affected and darkened by the sexual assault, Lucrece’s voice is now opened to the expression of more sinister inclinations. She has been left to “bear the load of the lust [Tarquin] left behind” (734), and Lucrece’s wish for Tarquin to rape others is an example of her spreading his lust as she wishes more rape upon others. Livy and Ovid did not portray Lucrece as a selfish woman, but her desire to be surrounded by other victims in Shakespeare seems to
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Psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ theories of the five stages of grief after death have been applied to rape in a study by Utah State University.

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Lucrece suggest a moral ambiguity within a character who has been traditionally depicted less equivocally. As her range of emotional and moral responses is enlarged, she becomes a more complex character. Grappling to understand the implications of her rape, Lucrece’s speech is fraught with ambivalence. She wavers between whom she blames, be it herself or Tarquin or another, and at what point in time she wants to die. She changes her mind as to whether she wants to regale the Roman masses (or even her husband) with the story of her violation or keep it an intimate secret. There are very few constants; “Sometime her grief is dumb and hath no words/ Sometime ‘tis mad and too much talk affords” (1104-5). Her ability to speak with eloquence, if at all, is as unpredictable as her emotional state. At first, Lucrece questions the extent of her own guilt in the rape—she does not know if she should be blamed for having entertained Tarquin (841). But then, less than 100 lines later, she blames him entirely, calling him “guilty” four times to begin four consecutive lines (918-21). This repetition of the word “guilt” is like the hammering in of a nail. Lucrece say it again and again, and with every repetition, Tarquin’s culpability becomes more and more embedded in her mind. At this crucial moment in the text, Lucrece realizes that she has the power to be the author of her own fate. She even declares, “I am the mistress of my fate” (1120). During her rape, Tarquin told her that “thou with patience must my will abide-/ My will that marks thee for my earth’s delights” (486-7). This assertion is a play on both “will” meaning “penis” and also that he will “mark” her, essentially write on her. Lucrece becomes a textual body of which Tarquin is the initial writer, making her read the story

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Lucrece that he has written.37 Hence, the assault is written on her face. Lucrece wishes that day would never break for she fears that the sun will expose her sin and “like water that doth eat in steel,/ Upon my cheeks what helpless shame I feel” (755-6). She is afraid that her face has been marked and her shame will always be visible as it is painted on her visage. The rising sun is feared for the “light will show character in my brow/ The story of sweet chastity’s decay” (807-8). She fears that her story has been written on her face where Tarquin has written it for her. She experiences guilt and shame both inside and out. Yet, this changes when she attributes blame to Tarquin. When she announces his culpability again and again, crying as she speaks, Lucrece realizes that her tears have the power to “blot old books and alter their contents” (948). She can rewrite her story and alter the shame that Tarquin has written upon her. Lucrece’s tears can wash away the offensive story. She has the power to speak for herself and to author her own fate. This first revelation of her own authorial power propels Lucrece to spring into physical action to take charge of her destiny. Lucrece decides to end her shame immediately, searching high and low for some “desperate instrument of death” (1036), resolute in her determination to die. But then, just as easily as the idea came to her, it leaves. Lucrece decides that it would be senseless to kill herself after so recently fearing death by Tarquin’s hands. Lucrece then moves onto her next dilemma: what she should say to her husband. Lucrece could have killed herself and been done with it; Collatine might never have known and could have been spared from the dishonor. At one juncture, Lucrece calls out

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Amy Greenstadt. “ “Read it in Me”: The Author’s Will in Lucrece.” Shakespeare

Quarterly. Vol. 57, Iss. 1 (Spring, 2006). <http://lion.chadwyck.com/searchFulltext .do?id=R03835603&divLevel=0&area=abell&forward=critref_ft>. 25

Lucrece to her absent husband saying, “I will not poison thee with my attaint” proposing that instead she will lie, “My tongue shall utter all; mine eyes like sluices,/ As from a mountain spring that feeds a dale,/ Shall gush pure streams to purge my impure tale” (1076-8). Lucrece has embraced speech but will use her now loose tongue to comfort her husband rather than to ruin him by informing him of her misfortune. This passage exemplifies Lucrece, once again, not rewriting but rather recreating her story. Entirely through her own process and volition, she has decided, herself, to keep her tale a secret. As soon as Lucrece comes to this conclusion, however, her thoughts are interrupted by the pleasant songs of the morning birds at dawn, a time she had dreaded. While the light of day may expose truths, however, now it will only reveal Lucrece’s power and command over her destiny rather than the shameful doom that she had feared. The bird songs inspire Lucrece to explore a different means of non-verbal communication. Lucrece’s analysis of the songs assists her understanding of the crime that has been committed against her body and helps her understand the path that she will choose to take. Throughout Shakespeare’s work, feelings of despair are often expressed through song when speech does not suffice. Lucrece, however, rejects this form of coping in the poem. She is not drawn to swan songs as Ophelia and Desdemona will be; instead, Lucrece speaks with an “untuned tongue” (1215). When thinking of her fate, “the little birds that tune their morning’s joy/ Make her moans mad with their sweet melody” (1107-8). Lucrece calls them “mocking birds” (1121), for they appear to mock her sorrow with their happy songs. While it could be argued that Lucrece’s moans do bear a certain air of musicality, they are in clashing discord with the chirping of chipper

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Lucrece birds. Thus, it may not be the form of music itself that disturbs Lucrece, but rather the emotion behind the chirping of the birds. Lucrece follows her outcry against the birds with the statement, “Come Philomel, that sing’st of ravishment,/ Make thy sad grove in my disheveled hair… For burden-wise I’ll hum on Tarquin still,/ While thou on Tereus descants better still” (1128-9, 1133-4). Lucrece is very different from Philomela who becomes, as Jane Newman described it, “jubilantly violent” and turns the sword against the victimizer rather than the victim, herself. The bird is a symbol of triumph here rather than a symbol of lamentation.38 Thus Philomel’s song would be of triumph and more on a plane with the morning sparrows rather than the sad song that Lucrece identifies with her. Just as Lucrece has been rewriting her own story, so is she recreating the tale of Philomela. Lucrece is both giving Philomel a monologue that did not exist in previous accounts, but she is also using Philomel as a tool to find her own voice and come to terms with the crime that has been committed against her – a crime that is strikingly similar to Tereus’ crime against Philomel. In the Shakespearean formulation of her story, Lucrece is endowed with the voice that was stolen from Philomel. A voiceless Philomel is more inclined to speak through rash and violent action against others, while Lucrece, who has a tongue, has a wider range of option. Newman writes, “The apparent contrast of a silent Philomela robbed of the potential for such an impact on the political moment to which she belongs, effectively casts Lucretia’s suicide as the only form of political intervention available to women.”39

Jane O. Newman, ""And Let Mild Women to Him Lose Their Mildness": Philomela, Female Violence, and Shakespeare's The Rape of Lucrece." Shakespeare Quarterly No.3 Vol.45 (1994): 312. <http://www.jstor.org>. 39 Ibid. 308-16.

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Lucrece Inspired by the story of Philomel and her ability to take command, Lucrece realizes that she must take charge in a different way, one that is consistent with her own deeply held values. Through lengthy inner struggle, Lucrece determines that she will not suffer her fate alone and allow the crime that has been committed against her go unpunished. Although she acknowledges that her chosen path will still lead to her suicide, Lucrece says, “Yet die I will not till my Collatine/ Have heard the cause of my untimely death,/ That he may vow in that sad hour of mine/ Revenge on him that made me stop my breath” (1177-80). She is expressing the anger that a rape victim experiences after her assault.40 The men will be the ones to avenge her rape. Her death will serve as a baptism for her through her purifying knife, “My shame so dead, mine honor is new born” (1190). Lucrece will die, but with the knowledge that her innocence has been proven and that she will be avenged. Lucrece has rejected the notion of sacrificing her own needs for the sake of Collatine’s feelings. Strongly, Lucrece declares that Collatine will “read it in me… this brief abridgment of my will I make” (1195,8). Lucrece, herself, will become a text to be read, but it is her own autobiographical text. She is now marked through her own volition, by her own will, instead of by Tarquin, and she has reached this point by adopting the voice of Philomel (or rather attributing her voice to that of an infamously wronged woman with whom she identifies.) No sooner has Lucrece decided to adopt a certain course, than she becomes lethargic and emotionally conflicted. Her voice becomes diminished in her burgeoning sadness, and words no longer suffice to express her pain. The finality of her death in sight, Lucrece is reduced to tears as she “wiped the brinish pearl from her bright eyes… her face worse sorrow’s livery” (1213,22). As she is overtaken by the resulting emotions,
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USU Document

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Lucrece she moves towards nonverbal communication and can no longer express herself though words. When Lucrece’s maid enters and asks what is the matter, Lucrece is unable to tell her, for even “If it should be told,/ The repetition cannot make it less;/ For more it is than I can well express… Get me hither paper, ink, and pens” (1284-9). Lucrece has spoken through the crime until she cannot utter the words any longer. Speech can no longer alleviate or even express her pain. While Lucrece once believed that speaking Tarquin’s crime again and again, hammering his “guilt” into her consciousness, would alleviate her pain, she now realizes that this conviction was faulty. She can never reclaim her identity as chaste wife. Speech is no longer sufficient to enable Lucrece to fully come to terms with her fate. She tries to replace speaking with the physical act of writing a letter, but in the end, that does not suffice either. According to Amy Greenstadt, a letter is not adequate to express Lucrece’s pain. Thus, Lucrece writes the letter only to summon Collatine to her side. She must express her woe in person, “when sighs and graons and tears may grace the fashion,” (1319), or enhance the presentation. Greenstadt writes, “Lucrece imagines her suicide as constituting part of a greater physical and vocal performance that will attest to her innocence.”41 Her confession to Collatine must employ both verbal and nonverbal means of communication. Lucrece has explored bodily movements, speech and song, but after the letter is sent she is still desperate to find more effective methods to communicate her grief, “Pausing for means to mourn some newer way” (1365). When Lucrece comes upon a tapestry retelling the story of the fall of Troy, she has found a new means by which to express her complex feelings: art. Interstingly, the art that Lucrece is drawn to is a tapestry, a craft usually created by women. Recall that in Metamorphoses Philomel told
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Greenstadt

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Lucrece the story of her rape through weaving. Lucrece experiences an extended moment of ekphrasis when she retells and even experiences the dramatic scene depicted in tapestry. She creates and gives voice to Hecuba’s complaint, blames Helen for being a strumpet (harkening back to her own earlier self-blame), and then identifies the true attacker, Sinon, liberating herself from guilt.42 Klietzman observes that Lucrece flourishes when she gives voice to female protagonists who had to resort to violence only because they did not have a voice – Philomela has no tongue and Euripedes’ Hecuba is rendered voiceless by a society (and Odysseus) unable understand her suffering.43 Lucrece gives voice to classically silent women and in doing so finds her own voice, identity, and selfdefinition. Lucrece is able to draw parallels between the inner life of the tapestry’s Hecuba and the circumstances surrounding her own emotional journey, the loss of her role as wife, thus confronting her with issues with which she must deal regarding her rape. She empathizes strongly with the image of Hecuba, whose husband Priam has been savagely murdered before her eyes, in the work of art, and is able to give the mythical queen, and herself in turn, a voice and a means through which she can tell her story. It is in Hecuba’s face that she sees “where all distressed is stelled” (1444) or stored. Hecuba is a woman who “showed life imprisoned in a body dead” (1456). This dead body could refer either to the fact that Hecuba is not a living being and exists only within the realm of the tapestry, or that Hecuba the woman has become emotionally cut off to the world as has Lucrece. Both women experience intense emotions churning within, which they are unable to fully express initially, appearing dumb to the world.
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Kietzman 40. Kietzman 28.

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Lucrece Thus, Lucrece is able to use Hecuba as a mirror to reflect her own emotional struggles. Hecuba is standing beside the corpse of her dead husband who has been taken away from her in a bloody, violent manner. Lucrece has been savagely raped and, therefore, her husband has been stolen from her. Her polluted body bars her from continuing to fulfill her role as the chaste wife and, thus, her husband can no longer be her husband. It is “on this sad shadow Lucrece spends her eyes” (1457), staring at this portrait of an ancient woman who cannot express her feelings verbally, “And therefore Lucrece swears he did her wrong,/ To give her so much grief, and not a tongue” (1462-3). Lucrece condemns the artist who created the tapestry as being at fault because Hecuba is engulfed in pain and left without a means to communicate her grief. Her tongue has been stolen. Up to this point, the depiction of Hecuba has been analogous to Lucrece’s situation. After Lucrece’s rape, it is stated repeatedly that she feels that her tongue has been stolen from her, and that she is unable to explain or even come to terms with the nature of the crime that has been committed against her. But here Lucrece turns from silent victim to champion of the voiceless. Lucrece assures Hecuba that she will “tune thy woes with my lamenting tongue… and with my knife scratch out the angry eyes/ Of all the Greeks that are thine enemies” (1465-9). She actually will speak for Hecuba through her subsequent actions. After she analyzes the face and story of Hecuba, identifying with the victimized queen, Lucrece “weeps Troy’s painted woes” (1492) as if Lucrece’s tears were the paint she associates with the work of art, even though it is, in fact, a tapestry. She not only feels empathy through identification with Hecuba, but she becomes a creative force as well. This foreshadows the soliloquy in act two scene two of Hamlet when the title

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Lucrece character is awe-struck as he remarks upon the way a player can express such emotion during the recitation of a monologue for Hecuba.44 Just as the player Hamlet observes cried over Hecuba’s words, Lucrece cries over Hecuba’s image and the inner story that she herself has created for Hecuba – although the players’ emotions are forged whereas Lucrece’s are real. Their emotional reactions are not the doing of Hecuba (although she is an inspirational figure who will even be compared to Lavinia in Titus) but the expressive creation of Lucrece. Hamlet is saddened that the player he sees could cry over paper and borrowed words while he, himself, cannot be roused to emotional action over the murder of his father, an act that is presented as having occurred in Hamlet’s life. Lucrece’s reaction is reminiscent but different; she uses the story of the Trojan queen to tap into her own feelings about the traumatic events she has experienced in her own life. In a sense, through her own emotional reality, Lucrece becomes Hecuba. Conversely, the Trojan queen even begins to serve as a representation of Lucrece’s physical being as she is described as having “cheeks neither red nor pale” (1510), reminiscent of Lucrece’s own red and white coloring. According to Greenstadtt, Lucrece learns from Hecuba how to “carve her visage into a map expressing both loyalty and grief.”45 While initially Lucrece thought that her fate would be written on her, in fact, Lucrece is shown as becoming her own artist rather than being a passive canvas. Finally and most importantly, when examining and interacting with the tapestry, Lucrece is able to identify and seek her own form of retribution against a figure that represents Tarquin: Sinon. Lucrece sees the painted face of Sinon and immediately likens him to her own rapist. The two rapists share both physical and historical
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Greenstadt Greenstadt

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Lucrece similarities. Donaldson notes that just as Sinon entered Troy through military deception, so did Livy’sTarquin deceive the people of Gabii, establishing a history of trickery.46 Noting their similarities, Shakespeare wrote: Here, all enraged, such passion her assails That patience is quite beaten from her breast. She tears the senseless Sinon with her nails, Comparing him to that unhappy guest Whose deed hath made herself herself detest. At last she smilingly with this gives o’er: “Fool, fool,” quoth she, “his wounds will not be sore.” Thus ebbs and flows the current of her sorrow, And time doth weary time with her complaining; She looks for night and then she longs for morrow, And both she thinks too long with her remaining. Short time seems long in sorrow’s sharp sustaining: Though woe be heavy, yet it seldom sleeps, And they that watch see time how slow it creeps. Which all this time hath overslipped her thought That she with painted images hath spent, Being from the feeling of her own grief brough By deep surmise of others’ detriment, Losing her woes in shows of discontent, It easeth some, though none it ever cured, To think their dolor others have endured. (1662-82) Lavinia’s scratching of the painting is important since, as established above, Lucrece will not commit a physically violent act against Tarquin herself. Having the ability to speak and the political power that her ability to present and shape information gives her, she need only inform the men in her family of the crime that was committed against her to allow and perhaps compel them to seek physical vengeance. When she enters the realm of the tapestry, however, Lucrece has the power to be physically destructive herself and can destroy the image of Sinon (a stand in for Tarquin), clawing at the image of Sinon
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Donaldson 10.

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Lucrece with her own nails. This represents a significant and empowering change from when Lucrece was depicted as scratching at her own skin (739). This is the physical manifestation of Lucrece taking control over her core, her emotions, her actions that will lead to her suicide. According to Professor Norbert Lain, a classics scholar at Stanford University, it is clear that the rhetorical devices used in these three stanzas convey important information about Lucrece’s interiority. While these stanzas could appear to prove that Lucrece is confidently in charge both emotionally and physically, Lain argues that the syllabic counts, rhyme scheme, and syntax of the lines demonstrate Lucrece’s pain, that the words she says are pained and could only be spoken by a rape victim.47 The first and third stanzas are written in perfect iambic pentameter, however in the second, when the narrator is describing Lucrece’s apostrophe-esque manner of speaking, each line has one additional syllable. Because of this syllable, when the stanza is read aloud, it sounds as if Lucrece is choking at the end of each line. This is an example of iconic language, when the form of the language itself is an accurate representation of what is occurring in the scene. Lucrece cannot get her words out in a controlled fashion. The effect of the extra syllabic beat is emphasized by the fact that it is surrounded by perfect iambic pentameter and that it occurs five times in a row. This is clearly intentional and conveys the alteration and deterioration of Lucrece’s emotional and physical state. Lain further explains the way the sounds of the words the narrator uses to describe Lucrece’s speech also describe Lucrece’s emotional delivery of her rebuke against Sinon. Shakespeare employs rhyme in this stanza that uses the sound “aining.” The sound is nasal; Lain calls it “held back,” as if Lucrece has to blow her nose. After the first four
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Lain, Norbert, Personal interview. 19. Apr. 2010.

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Lucrece lines that convey Lucrece’s unstable choking sounds, by the fifth line she breaks down into sobs. The words in the line -- “short,” “seems,” “sorrow’s sharp sustaining” -- are all heavy with “s” and “sh” sounds. They flow into one another, replicating the sound and rhythm of her sobs as she wishes that night could veil her sorrow once again. Of course, it is the reader who speaks or subvocalizes these words that carry the sounds of the literal sobbing. This syntactic and alliterative strategy provokes feelings of intense empathy for Lucrece as readers experience what she experiences. Shakespeare takes on the role of director in this narrative poem, making Lucrece’s words, and the reader’s experience of the words, replicate her interior struggle.48 But Lucrece is not sobbing only for herself. She is weeping “To think their dolour others have endured” (1682). Lucrece once longed for company in her grief, and she found it in the characters woven into the tapestry. She has volitionally joined with a collective identity, into which the reader has been invited as well. Lucrece has now fully accepted that she is part of a larger Roman whole. Her actions will be undertaken in the name of the wronged Hecuba, of Philomela, and of future Roman women who will perhaps suffer a similar fate. In death, Lucrece will become a figure of allegorical significance. It is at this moment of ekphrasis that Lucrece, who has been alone in deep selfreflection, is finally joined by her husband and his fellow soldiers, including her father and Brutus. The entrance of other characters has the effect of a play with new character’s entering at a soliloquy’s end. Lucrece’s body and her situation no longer exist in a vacuum of interiority but are introduced into the context of the real and functioning wider world. She is a physically changed woman, her once glowing eyes “red and raw,” “Her
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Lain 4/19.

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Lucrece lively color killed with deadly cares” (1592,3). Just when Lucrece has discovered her voice, a frightened Collatine “long[s] to hear her words” (1610). Her speech is now encouraged. Collatine begs to hear what will be her final speech. He is desperate to know what has caused this change in his wife that is evidenced and communicated by her altered body. And yet, even though this is the moment Lucrece has anticipated, it is difficult for her to speak fluently, to produce the right words. In fact, “Three times with sighs she gives her sorrow fire,” just as it took her multiple attempts to speak directly after the rape. Having experienced various other forms of nonverbal communication including art, song, and ekphrasis, Lucrece must reestablish her ability to use words as a means to communicate with others. The first thing she says is a warning that “Few words… shall fit the trespass best” for “in me moe woes than words are now depending” than can possibly be told by her “one poor tired tongue” (1613-2, 1617). Her tongue is exhausted because she has been exploring the reaches of her speech from the time of her rape until the dawn. The true impact of the crime that has been committed against her is essentially unspeakable. Lucrece offers a detailed account of the rape against her body, all the while citing the difficulties it posed for her voice. She speaks of how Tarquin swore that if she did not submit “I should not live to speak another word,” and of how when she continued to resist, “My bloody judge forbade my tongue to speak;/ No rightful plea might plead for justice there” (1648-9). At this moment in the poem, Lucrece is doing the very thing that Tarquin tried to prevent. She is using her tongue, albeit a tired one, and telling her story. She is not only asserting and proving her innocence to her husband, but she is taking

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Lucrece power over Tarquin, standing up to his intimidation. She is defying her rapist verbally one last time, and he can do nothing to stop her tongue. Through the telling of her story, Lucrece becomes a powerful oratorical force. Now Collatine is speechless; “with head declined and voice dammed up with woe,” he cannot react in words (1661). His own “grief” stops his tongue and “what he breathes out his breath drinks up again” (1666). Lost in a sea of ebbing and flowing sighs, Collatine has lost verbal power and appears to take on the role of victim, speechless and violated. He tries to talk, but he cannot. Just as Lucrece has experienced interludes when she has only been able to express herself with sighs, so Collatine’s voice is lost in aspirations. He experiences “rage” and “grief” (1671), but he is unable to talk about it. Collatine does not speak again until after Lucrece’s suicide. He becomes feminized, which gives Lucrece the space to become heroic. Embracing the role reversal, Lucrece comforts her husband with her words, gaining even more vocal expressive power as she does so. She is entirely in control of the situation before her. The men stand at her command. Lucrece asks directly for the thing that she so desperately needs, vengeance against Tarquin. The men immediately swear their loyalty and devotion/ In a crescendo of emotional triumph, Lucrece finally “throws forth Tarquin’s name: ‘he, he,’ she says;/ But more than “he” her poor tongue could not speak;/ Til after many accents and delays… ‘He, he fair lords, ‘tis he,’” (171721). Tarquin is to blame, and Lucrece emphasizes this fact again and again. It is a struggle to emit the words, but Lucrece does, calling out “he” five times in a rushing climax. Then, in her final act of performance art, Lucrece grabs a knife and stabs herself,

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Lucrece taking charge of a phallic symbol and inserting it into her own body, a recreation of her rape, an action more powerful than her words and bringing about her death. The knife Lucrece uses also serves as a pen—Lucrece has written her own final message on her body, a body that will function as a symbol that instigates and galvanizes the Roman people. Brutus decides “to bear dead Lucrece thence,/ To show her bleeding body thorough Rome,/ And so to publish Tarquin’s foul offense” (1850-2). The opportunistic Brutus does not kill Tarquin as Lucrece requests but rather exiles his family so that he can take power of Rome. This fact, however, does not decrease the power of Lucrece’s actions and words. The Roman people will read the story that Lucrece has written on her own body. Lucrece is the author of her own fate and the fate of Rome.

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Lavinia Chapter Two: Lavinia

Titus Andronicus serves as another study of the way Shakespearean heroines come to physical and emotional terms with sexual assault given a cultural context in which, once they lose their chastity, they lose their status and previous roles in society. Inspired by the Ovidian tales of Philomela and Io, the ancient mythology of Hecuba during the sacking of Troy, and Livy’s and Shakespeare’s own exploration of Lucrece’s emotional development following her rape, Shakespeare finally creates his own original story that turns on rape: the rape of Lavinia.49 In fact, Edward Ravenscroft’s 1687 adapted version of Titus Andronicus, or The Rape of Lavinia, is given that exact alternate title, recognizing that Lavinia’s rape is at the crux of Shakespeare’s play. Enter Empress’ sons with Lavinia, her hands cut off, and her tongue cut out, and ravished (2.4) With this astonishing stage direction, Lavinia enters in one of the most haunting and powerful images in Shakespeare’s collected works. Even as Titus progresses, crescendoing in a cacophony of acts of extreme violence including amputation, cannibalism and murder, Lavinia’s mutilation remains one of Titus Andronicus’ most poignant and disturbing moments. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s stage history of the play reveals that Titus Andronicus has had the power to cause audience members to faint, particularly at this juncture.50 A review of Dieter Reible’s 1970 production of the

There is critical debate as to whether or not Titus Andronicus is Shakespeare’s own work, or if it already existed and Shakespeare just contributed an editor’s hand. This thesis is written with the assumption that Titus was, in fact, entirely written by Shakespeare. 50 RSC “The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus.” RSC (2008) 16 Jan. 2010, www.rsc.org.uk/titus/about/history.html+titus+andronicus+south+africa&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk &gl=us&client=safari

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Lavinia play in Cape Town, South Africa reveals that although the South African audience, during the era of Apartheid, was most disturbed by the interracial love child produced by Tamora and Aaron, “When the ravished Lavinia appeared on the stage pointing the bloody stumps of her severed hands at the audience and frothing at the mouth because of her severed tongue, one young man in the audience fainted. Another rushed out clutching his stomach.”51 Lavinia, the chaste, has just lost her husband, her chastity, and her ability to communicate through traditional means of human interaction, speaking and writing. Her condition reflects a more egregious trauma than what is suffered by Lucrece or Philomela. Although all of the women are raped, their rapists leave them in varying states of wholeness. Apart from losing her chastity, Lucrece retains all of her other faculties; Philomela loses her tongue; but Lavinia is reduced to a state of lost purity, tongue, and hands. Thus, while the sexual crimes are similar, the women’s abilities to mentally and emotionally process and physically or verbally communicate their victimization differs. While Lucrece is metaphorically quieted, Lavinia is silenced in a physically violent manner, her tongue forcibly cut from her mouth. Although Philomela also loses her tongue, she retains her ability to communicate her story in a dignified manner, silently weaving her tale into a beautiful tapestry, but Lavinia has lost her hands and her capacity for dignified or precise expressive functions. Mutilated and muted, Lavinia cannot speak; she cannot write or weave or sign with phantom fingers on phantom hands. In order to “speak”, Lavinia must use her entire body. Depending on the director’s vision, she may be reduced to grunting, crawling on the ground, or throwing up her stumps in a futile
51

Philip C. Kolin, “Bard Shocks” Titus Andronicus: Critical Essays (New York: Garland Pub, 1995) 417.

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Lavinia attempt to illustrate a point. Important elements of Lavinia’s humanity have been ripped out, hacked off, and stolen from her. One of the most compelling elements of the play is the scene in which Lavinia attempts to communicate with those around her after she is maimed. The element of mystery surrounding what Lavinia is thinking and whether or not she will be able to explain the crime committed against her and bring her perpetrators to justice illuminates another significant difference between readers’ understanding of Lavinia as compared to Lucrece. In addition to being able to communicate verbally, Lucrece exists within the context of an epic poem. This gives the readers a marked advantage in gaining access to Lucrece’s internal processes. Lucrece’s thoughts are presented by an omniscient narrator through poetic exposition. Her thoughts and reactions can be straightforwardly read through narrative and dialogue rather than vaguely interpreted through observed movements and facial expressions. With Lavinia, there is no inner dialogue to which the audience is privy. Lavinia speaks only through movements and non-narrative sounds prescribed through stage directions; she has no choice but to turn her body into that of a performance artist. Only through Lavinia’s posturing and movements, her physical expression, her eyes, can an audience begin to comprehend her true feelings and motivations. David Willbern argues that the act of rape itself is at the very core of Titus Andronicus. The play opens on a scene of two brothers, Bassanius and Saturnitus, debating over who would make the better emperor of Rome. Bassanius’ appeal to the Roman people involves outlining his ability to protect the city of Rome from attack. His language, however, likens his proposed defense of Rome, identified as female, to keeping

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Lavinia a woman safe from a looming sexual assault. He will defend her “passage,” as well as maintaining her “virtue” and “continence” (1.1.13,15).52 In this description, however, the act of rape appears to have an impact that is separate from and extends beyond the feminine experience. While the imagined rape is an attack on the lady Rome, it is felt in the collective heart of the Roman people. The woman does not have true ownership of this assault. Going even further than just the imagery of the rape against Rome, Shakespeare introduces the concept of rape against Lavinia in the opening act. Lavinia has been betrothed to Bassanius. After Saturnitus wins the emperorship, however, he asks for Lavinia’s hand. Happy to have an empress for a daughter, Titus agrees to this engagement, breaking the promise that has been made to Bassanius. At this point, Bassanius and Lavinia’s two brothers steal her away so that she can elope with her previous fiancé. The text does not make it clear as to whether or not Lavinia was a willing conspirator in this act. If we are to honor the literal Elizabethan definition of the word “rape” as abduction by seizure or force, then at this early point in the play, Lavinia is subject to rape (meaning capture) at the hands of her brothers and Bassanius. Saturnitus rebukes his brother as a “traitor,” warning him that if he ever comes to power, “Thou and thy faction shall repent this rape.” Bassanius, however, implies that his brother has no grounds to make such a threat, asserting that there has been no crime: “Rape you call it, my lord, to seize my own,/ My true-betrothed love, and now my wife?” (1.1.406-9). This statement frames rape in male terms. Rape was considered a crime against males. Women existed
52

David Willbern, “Rape and Revenge in Titus Andronicus” English Literary Renaissance (Spring 1978) 172. <http://www.jstor.org>.

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Lavinia as property first of their fathers and then of their husbands; hence, a rape of Lavinia could not have taken place because she and the accused rapist were already betrothed.53 Lavinia was already his property. This patriarchal understanding of rape leaves no room for the consideration of the impact of the crime on the female; after all, with this society’s construct, it is not the woman who has been violated, but rather her male liege. Given the play’s societal conception of rape, one must ask how violated women are to come to terms with their victimization. Even though Lavinia has the physical capacity to speak during this first episode of nonsexual, abduction-based “rape”, she says nothing about it. Upon Lavinia’s capture, Titus had exclaimed, “Treason, my Lord! Lavinia is surprised!” (1.1.287). If Titus can accurately speak on behalf of his daughter, then this assertion implies that Lavinia’s capture was carried out against her will. As Lavinia remains silent, it is never made clear whether or not she consented to her abduction. However, she is never asked to speak in her own defense or to talk about the crime that has been committed against her. Lavinia is merely a pawn in this exchange; her feelings and will are of no consequence to the male characters or by extension the power structure of her society. When analyzing Lavinia’s reaction to her sexual rape that takes place in the second act, it is crucial to understand the implications of rape in the Roman and Elizabethan social contexts. Although the play’s male characters grieve for the loss of Lavinia’s innocence in terms of its value to them, they do not explicitly take her person into consideration in the aftermath of her brutal physical and sexual assault. Given Lavinia’s unbreakable verbal silence throughout the end of the first and the entirety of the second half of the play, it is difficult to understand fully her perception of
53

Donaldson 24.

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Lavinia the sexual rape that has been committed against her after the fact. It is therefore enlightening to examine her reactions leading up to this rape at a time when she was able to give voice to her thoughts. There are aspects of Lavinia’s dialogue leading up to her rape that identify the young woman’s character and create a context for her sexual assault. When Lavinia is walking with her new husband, Bassanius, and comes across Tamora engaging romantically with Aaron the Moore, Lavinia coarsely mocks and rebukes the Goth for her act of infidelity. Lavinia boldly tells Tamora that it is widely known that she has “a goodly gift in horning” and may “Jove shield your husband from his hounds today!/’Tis pity they should take him for a stag” (2.3.67-71). She insults Tamora for being an adulteress. As infidelity was said to give cuckolded husbands horns, Lavinia teases that Tamora’s husband would probably be mistaken for a stag if he were to take part in a hunt. Unbeknownst to herself, it is Lavinia who is actually the hunted, doomed doe. Lavinia continues on this trajectory of insults, provoking the angry Goth queen. She labels Tamora’s affair a “raven-colored love” (2.3.83) playing on Aaron’s race and insinuating that their affection is less than pure, but is as dark and ominous as his skin. After Lavinia realizes that she is at risk of being raped at the hands of Tamora and her sons, after they have killed her husband, she amplifies the coarse nature of her insults. She tells Chiron and Demetrius that “the milk that thou suck’dst from her did turn to marble” (2.3.144), attacking the core of Tamora’s womanhood. The milk that a mother produces for her young is traditionally considered one of the most sacred, feminine gifts that a woman can give. Lavinia accuses this milk of being tainted in an attempt to pit sons against mother, continuing her onslaught of insults.

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Lavinia Critical interpretation of Lavinia’s taunting of Tamora and subsequent rape is often disturbing in its justification of Lavinia’s punishment. Critic Arthur Symons writes, “Lavinia is a single and unmixed blunder… I can never read the third scene of the second act without amazement at the folly of the writer, who, requiring in the nature of things to win our sympathy for his afflicted heroine, fills her mouth with the grossest and vilest insults against Tamora, so gross, so vile, so unwomanly, that her punishment becomes something of a retribution instead of being wholly brutal.”54 On a similar note, George Steven’s writes that Lavinia’s “raillery to Tamora is of so coarse a nature, that if her tongue had been all she was condemned to lose, perhaps the author (whoever he was) would have escaped censure on the score of poetic justice.” These analyses serve as critically endorsed acts of the blaming of the victim. Symons and Steven do not take Lavinia’s desperation into account. She is on the brink of losing her identity as a respected Roman female archetypal figure and disintegrating to the point of existing only as a mutilated body that has no place in her society. Up to this point, Lavinia has functioned as the obedient daughter, the societallyapproved feminine archetype: subservient, praising of her father, unwilling to question Titus when he reneges on her betrothal. R. S. White claims that when she taunts Tamora even before she knows about her impending attack, Lavinia is acting out of loyalty to her emperor and husband, Bassanius. When she condemns Tamora’s act of adultery with Aaron in act two, scene three,55 she is defending the sanctity of marriage. However, even if these are her motives, Lavinia’s cruel words do serve a dramatic function in her

Arthur Brown, Studies in the Elizabethan Drama, (New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, 1919) 75. March 10, 2010 <http://www.books.google.com>. 55 R.S. White, Innocent Victims: Poetic Injustice in Shakespearean Tragedy (London: Athione Press, 1986) 31.

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Lavinia characterization. Her retorts render her a more complex, three-dimensional character; she is not merely perfect, but rather she is a full-bodied woman who has flaws and a temper; she has depth. Hence, Lavinia cannot be viewed only as a subservient female. Furthermore, Lavinia’s verbal assaults cannot be construed as the cause of her rape and attack. Aaron and Tamora had already planned the attack against Lavinia as a means of retribution for past offenses committed by her father and brother against Tamora. Carolyn Asp notes the ineptitude of Lavinia’s insults.56 According to Asp, Lavinia does not present a linear argument and fails to employ effective, pathos-inducing prose. She jumps around, first appealing to Tamora’s womanhood and then accusing her of not being a true woman. Then she tries to gauge who will be a more sympathetic ally, flip flopping in her plea to Tamora’s sons. She speaks to Chiron and then to Demetrius, insulting them and then praising them in a confusing manner. Eventually Tamora says, “I know not what it means, away with her!” (2.3.157). Lavinia’s mounting desperation and impotence is reflected in the breakdown of the coherence of her speech and of her rhetorical style. Indeed, Lavinia does not use the beautiful language that Lucrece employed before her attack. Lucrece gently, lyrically pleads to Tarquin’s sense of honor as a man and as a friend to her husband. When Tarquin stuffs her sheets into her mouth, one may wonder if he is silencing Lucrece because he cannot bear to listen to words he already recognizes as true. She becomes his voiced (but smothered) conscience. In contrast, while Chiron and Demetrius are quieting Lavinia so that she cannot turn them in, they are also tearing out the very same tongue that has been spitting curses at their mother. While Tarquin was
Carolyn Asp, ““Upon Her Wit Doth Earthly Honor Wait” Female Agency in Titus Andronicus,” Ed. Philip C. Kolin Titus Andronicus: Critical Essays (New York: Garland, 1995) 339.
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Lavinia attempting to silence his sense of shame, Chiron does not silence Lavinia for these same reasons. Chiron and Demetrius are annoyed and want to end Lavinia’s ramblings. Mary Laughlin Fawcett believes that Lavinia’s attempt at verbal communication is so failed that she serves a greater artistic purpose when she is forcibly silenced.57 While Fawcett gives a harsh critique, it is true that Lavinia’s dialogue through non- verbal channels of communication does evoke more feelings of sympathy and pathos than her verbal arguments ever did. When Lavinia begins to understand that the Goth queen intends for her sons to rape her, Lavinia is almost unable to comprehend such a violation being committed against her body. Lucrece would rather face any punishment that does not include rape -a word that her tongue is unable to form, her lips unable to utter. She asks for instant death rather than rape, to which she refers as that “one thing more/ That womanhood denies my tongue to tell” (2.3.173-4). Feminine decency has paralyzed her tongue. She cannot refer to the crime by its proper name, but rather chooses to use roundabout phraseology and euphemisms. The word rape is replaced by the phrase a “worse than killing lust” (2.3.175) and a shame far worse than death; to kill her rather than rape her would be considered an act of charity (2.3.178). Lavinia believes that to be raped, even to utter the word “rape,” is to be stripped of her femininity. Before the sexual act of rape in act two scene three, Lavinia pleads, “Tumble me into some loathsome pit,/ Where never man’s eye may behold my body” (2.3.176-7). She is preoccupied by the thought of her violated body being viewed by men. The sight would be offensive both to her and to her male counterparts. Lavinia wants to escape
57

Mary Laughlin Fawcett, “Arms/Words/Tears: Language and the Body in Titus Andronicus.” ELH 2 (Summer, 1983) 266. <http://www.jstor.org>.

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Lavinia exposure and display, and she desperately wants to avoid becoming a figure that is interpreted and reinterpreted, marked by the crime that has been committed against her body. Poignantly, this becomes her fate. When rape is seen solely as a crime against the male owner and not against the female body, it can be argued that Chiron and Demitrius’ rape of Lavinia is justified. As was stated in Chapter One, Tarquin could have seen his rape of Lucrece as a justified act had Collatine wronged him in some way (Lucrece, 232-6). While Collatine did nothing to Tarquin to “legitimize” the rape of his wife, Lavinia’s father has killed Tamora’s son, Chiron and Demetrius’ brother. Thus Titus has committed an act in reprisal for which the two Goths believe they can legitimately seek vengeance. Although their vicious and brutal act suggests excessive recompense, theirs is certainly a murkier crime than Tarquin’s crime against Lucrece given their respective societies’ social and ethical norms. When physically invasive crimes against the female body are interpreted through the lens of a patriarchal society, it is easy to lose a sharp focus on where the consequences to the female victim fall in the schema. One begins to question if, in such a society, a female character has room to react to her victimization. Not only is it difficult for the male characters in Titus Andronicus to understand Lavinia’s emotional response, but it is hard for audience members as well. Gauging Lavinia’s reaction to the crime that has been committed against her body is complicated by the fact that she cannot truly tell her story. Her uncle and father project their theories onto her silent frame, an act that further obscures Lavinia’s true inner experience. Observing the way Lavinia comes to terms with what has happened to her

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Lavinia and communicates to those around her becomes one of the most poignant elements of the play. The University of Oxford’s 1985 production represented Lavinia as an active and instigating force during the murders,58 while Matt Rucker’s production rendered her entirely silent and almost catatonic from the moment of her rape onwards, so numb, traumatized and sensitive to external stimuli that she must cover her ears with her stumps to block out her the sound of her father’s laughter.59 Beneath differing directorial interpretations, however, textual evidence and stage directions from the Shakespearean epic do illuminate Lavinia’s subtle character development throughout the play. At first, Lavinia represents the state of the traumatized victim. She is just coming to terms with her rape, and thus behaves in a passive manner. As the scenes continue and as she interacts with her male family members, all of whom become obsessed with identifying her violators and seeking revenge, she begins to come to terms with what has happened. Lavinia turns to the use of gesture and movement, using a concocted sign language to communicate exactly what has happened to her. When Lavinia’s uncle, Marcus, stumbles upon his bleeding and broken niece in the forest, he asks, “Who is this? my niece, that flies away so fast!” (2.4.11). This first sentence of what evolves into a 47-line monologue of horror, confusion, and discovery can be interpreted in various ways. This line could allude to the first time that Lavinia speaks through movement. He could be asking if Lavinia is the person who just ran off. It is possible that Lavinia has seen her uncle’s approach and has decided to run away from him. Before the rape, she made it clear that she would rather decay in a pit than be

Alexander Leggatt, “Titus Andronicus On Stage.” Ed. Philip C. Kolin. Titus Andronicus: Critical Essays. (New York: Garland, 1995) 432. 59 Alan C. Dessen, Titus Andronicus. (New York: Manchester University Press, 1989) 95.

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Lavinia put on display following the assault. She cannot bear to be examined by male eyes. On the other hand, Demetrius and Chiron do exit immediately prior to Marcus’ entrance. Thus, Marcus could be asking for the identities of the men who sped away so quickly. Upon realizing the damage to Lavinia’s body, however, Marcus has answered his previous question and begs her to “Speak, gentle niece, what stern, ungentle hand/ Hath lopped and hewed and made thy body bare” (2.4.17-8). This fixation of naming the men responsible for this crime becomes a driving force for the remainder of Titus Andronicus. The unfolding events of the play – the slaughter of Demetrius and Chiron, the feeding of their bodies to their mother –occur only as a march towards full retribution. Lavinia is urged to speak the names of her violators, and yet she can say nothing. Marcus postulates about why Lavinia remains silent until he realizes the full extent of her injuries. He laments, “Alas, a crimson river of warm blood,/ Like to a bubbling fountain stirred with wind,/ Doth rise and fall between thy rosèd lips” (2.4.22-4). In poetic and very visual verse, Marcus examines Lavinia as he would a work of art. There is a strong rendering of color and texture. Marcus’ words vividly paint a picture of the bloody Lavinia even though she is standing right there for the audience to see. In this monologue, language can be taken either as a description of Lavinia’s actual condition -she can be seen as a fountain spouting blood -- or it might also convey more than what the audience can already see as the onstage Lavinia does not have to be spouting blood. The director is not required to have her appear in the way Marcus describes her. In a 1988 production, Lavinia merely had clay around her stumps.60 This minimalist approach makes Marcus’ speech all the more elegant. Lavinia’s body becomes a source of inspiration – a blank canvas on which others can paint. Karen Cunningham writes that
60

Dessen 454.

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Lavinia Lavinia is “like the subject of a Renaissance anamorphic painting, which can be seen from one point of view as a vital, dynamic figure, and from another point of view as a decaying corpse… a cipher and repository of meaning continually reinterpreted through the observation and voices of others.”61 She is art, she inspires art, but she must become the artist. If Lavinia does not take charge and become an active body, then she is at the mercy of her male painters who do not necessarily understand either what has occurred or the rape’s impact on the female psyche. Yet not long after discovering Lavinia, Marcus indicates that he fully understands the nature of the crimes committed against her body. In his speech, Marcus states, “But sure some Tereus hath deflowered thee,/ And, lest thou shouldst detect him, cut thy tongue… A craftier Tereus, cousin, hast thou met,/ And he hath cut those pretty finger off/ That could have better sewed than Philomel” (2.4.26-42). The story of Philomela is immediately used as a literary analogy, just as it was in The Rape of Lucrece. This literary allusion, likening Lavinia’s mutilation to that of Philomela in the Ovidian tale, appears to indicate that Marcus grasps the fact that Lavinia has been raped by a villain crueler than Tereus. But if Marcus does hold this knowledge, he is readily able to overlook or perhaps forget it almost instantaneously. He does not indicate that Lavinia has been raped to Titus, and Lavinia’s writing of her crime in VI.i is received by Marcus as a shocking surprise. How can this amnesia be explained? We have seen that sexual rape is a difficult and predominantly unspeakable act given the social context of the play. The term of sexual rape is outside the male vocabulary, and even Lavinia was unable to speak it aloud. The male consciousness is unable to comprehend rape’s implications,
Karen Cunningham, ““Scars Can Witness”: Trials by ordeal and Lavinia’s Body in Titus Andronicus,” ed. Katherine Anne Ackley, Women and Violence in Literature an Essay Collection (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1990) 144.
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Lavinia especially on the female person and body. Thus, when Marcus invokes the literary model of Ovid, perhaps it is just that – an allusion rather than an assertion of knowledge. Just as Lavinia inspires allusions to physical art from the males who surround her, so does she inspire literary artistic expressions, in this case Ovid. Throughout the play, Titus and Marcus use literary and historical models as means of understanding their related situations (Titus refers to Viginius at the end of act five when he contemplated killing his raped daughter). Furthermore, Marcus’ theory of rape is never specifically and overtly confirmed by Lavinia herself. There is no stage direction for her to run up to him, grab him with her stumps or nod furtively to indicate that yes, she has been deflowered. Thus Marcus is able to pass over his accurate conjecture with ease. If “rape” is not explicitly named, if the word is not spoken, then it cannot be real. Lavinia is not ready to address what has happened by weaving her story, not with threads, but rather with fluid movements and other forms of physical expression that she employs later in the play. Marcus, and later Titus and Lucius, not only postulate what could have happened to Lavinia, but they try to create her voice. Once Marcus understands that Lavinia is physically incapable of providing words to describe her experience, he asks, “Shall I speak for thee? Shall I say tis so?” (2.4.31). He is asking explicit permission to give her a voice but also perhaps inadvertently to supplant her words. The Andronici express an unremitting desire to understand what has happened to Lavinia. If they can put words to the crime, then perhaps they can understand it and rectify the situation -- to the extent that it can be rectified. Marcus and Titus’ need to seek revenge is not altruistic and reflects an element of selfishness. During Marcus’ speech in 2.4, he says, “O that I knew thy heart, and knew

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Lavinia the beast,/ That I might rail at him to ease my mind!” (2.4.34-5). Lavinia is only brought into this statement as a potential conduit of information leading to emotional satisfaction. Marcus does not want to know what is in her heart in order to try to understand her grief, but rather to extricate information in order to exact the price for what has been done to her. Marcus is not suggesting that he wants to alleviate Lavinia’s pain, but rather that he wants to “ease” his own. Attacking the enemy would be his means of coping. There is ambiguity around whether Lavinia’s male relatives are motivated by what is best for Lavinia, or rather (consciously or not) what best serves their own needs and desires. This does not mean, however, that these men do not seek to understand Lavinia. They do, and desperately. When Titus sees his daughter, he is overwhelmed. He laments that he does not know how he can possibly gain understanding of her situation. Titus describes Lavinia as a “map of woe” (3.2.12). Her body is a chart of abuse and grief. Yet this is a map that is illegible, for it lacks a clearly comprehensible key. Thus Titus and Marcus are unable to translate Lavinia’s topography without extensive interpretation. Her body has become a work of physical art, and thus she must use movement as a means of communication. Frantic for knowledge, Titus asks, “Shall we cut away our hands like thine?/ Or shall we bite our tongues, and in dumb shows/ Pass the remainder of our hateful days?/ What shall we do?” (3.1.130-3). Perhaps the only way that he can imagine being able to understand Lavinia is if he were to be subjected to her physical disabilities. Perhaps then he could gain insight into the language of the mute and mutilated. Instead, Titus comes to the conclusion that it is best to “let us that have our tongues/ Plot some device of further misery/ To make us wondered at in time to come” (3.1.133-5). Once again, the importance of spoken language is expressed explicitly. The line asserts that the only way to come to terms with Lavinia’s abuse is to inflict further misery and

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Lavinia destruction, perhaps in an act of revenge. But this act of vengeance can occur only if a tongue is present. Titus recognizes that he must work hard to grasp the meaning of Lavinia’s communicative actions. He tells his daughter, “Speechless complainer, I will learn thy thought;/ In thy dumb action… Thou shalt not sigh, nor hold thy stumps to heaven,/ Nor wink, nor nod, nor kneel, nor make a sign,/ But I of these will wrest an alphabet,/ And by still practice learn to know thy meaning” (3.2.39-45). Titus is determined to assign every one of Lavinia’s movements an accurate and clear-cut meaning. And yet, even though Lavinia does perform each of these actions, even though she sighs and kneels and nods and signs and raise her arms in anguish towards the heavens, Titus and other surrounding males are for the most part unable to interpret her untraditional, non-verbal mode of communication. When Lavinia cries after Titus speaks of her two brothers, whom he has subsequently sent to their deaths, Marcus and Titus are unable to understand why she is crying. “Perchance she weeps because they killed her husband,/ Perchance because she knows them innocent,” Marcus postulates (3.1.114-4). The two men are unable to decipher the impetus behind her actions. While there is no definite explanation for why Lavinia cries, the audience can be certain that it is not because Lavinia finds her brothers at fault for the murder of Bassanius. Titus also asks Lavinia to kiss him, to kneel by his side (3.1.209), to sigh (3.1.225), and yet he has no translation for these “signs” either. Misinterpretations occur again and again throughout the unfolding of the plot, for example when Lavinia chases the boy with a copy of the Metamorphosis around or when she raises her hands in the air in “sequence” (4.1).

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Lavinia It is important to note the changing nature of Lavinia’s movements and to see how her ability to perform with physical motion rather that oral communication evolves over the course of the play as she comes to terms with the crimes that have been committed against her body. In acts two and three, Lavinia’s movements are more reactive than they are active. She will cry in response to emotional stimuli and she will follow directions, but she is unable to use her body as a vehicle for creative communication. This is a reflection of her interiority at this point in the production. Lavinia has just been raped and put on display in front of the male members of her family, a succession of events that she identified as her worst fear in 2.3. She is unable, emotionally, to come to terms with her vicious sexual assault let alone communicate it to her family. This handicap explains why she gives no sign to Marcus that he was correct when he spoke of her being deflowering. Lavinia has a tendency to move with passivity in these acts. When her father asks her to kneel and cry, she allows herself to be guided. When Titus asks his daughter to take his hand between her teeth (3.1.282) so that he can lead her offstage, she puts his palm in her mouth and lets him lead her. As Mary Laughlin Fawcette writes, “the hand completes the tongue.”62 Lavinia is shaped by her social circumstances, and she exists in an authoritarian and patriarchal society. Titus has claimed that he speaks for his daughter, and this act connotes her acceptance of his assumption of that role, even if his interpretations are often mistranslations of her inner monologue. And yet some time in between acts three and four, something within Lavinia changes. She becomes fully engaged with her body and excitedly tries to show Titus and Marcus the nature of her victimization. Act four opens with the stage direction: “Enter Lucius’ son and Lavinia running after him, and the boy flies from her with his books
62

Fawcett 265.

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Lavinia under his arm.” This is an explosively active opening to the scene. The numbed Lavinia is now fervently chasing the frightened boy around their home. He must escape her and when he tries, he begs for help, crying, “sweet aunt, I know not what you mean” (4.1.4) and going on to explain, “I have read that Hecuba of Troy/ Ran mad for sorrow. That made me to fear” (4.1.21-2). Once again, Lavinia’s actions, although now very active rather than passive, are met with confusion and misinterpretation. Lucius’ nephew likens her to the literary and historical figure of Hecuba who, after losing her family and being enslaved by the Achaeans, blinded her captor, Polymestor, and then killed his children. The boy in the scene fears that her fervor might be a murderous rage. In the Inferno, Dante wrote that after Hecuba saw that bodies of her dead children she “began barking like a dog.”63 As Lavinia’s actions are often indicated by other characters’ speech rather than plotted stage directions, the Boy’s allusion could imply that Lavinia is grunting in an animalistic manner – the only verbal utterances that her impaired state permits. Lavinia engages her whole body and perhaps even her voice to communicate a message. While the Boy is correct in noting Lavinia’s agitated passion, he does not realize that what she wants is the copy of the Metamorphosis that he holds in his hands. Seeing the book is Lavinia’s emotional trigger; she is now not only ready but obsessed with communicating that she was raped by Chiron and Demetrius. Pointing out Philomela’s story could be a way for her to communicate this to her father and uncle. She raises her arms in the air, indicating that she had two assailants (4.1.37) and then grabs the book, fumbling with its pages (4.1.41). This is a sequence of extreme bodily engagement, yet it still is not enough. Marcus begs her to “give signs,” to explain further,
63

Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Ed. Mark Musa: The Indiana Critical edition (Indiana: IUP, 1995) 216.

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Lavinia and he then shows her how to write out her message with a stick in her mouth on a blank piece of dirt. And so she does. Lavinia crouches on the ground, “takes the staff in her mouth and guides it with her stump and writes” (4.1.76). She writes the word Stuprum, which in Latin translates to “dishonor, shame, (illicit) sexual intercourse.”64 Lavinia then writes the names of her rapists: Chiron and Demitrius. This series of movements represents the zenith of Lavinia’s character development. She is no longer guided by her father’s hand; it is now she who guides. Even though Marcus showed her how to write with the stick, he is unable to provide her with the words. The words are, indeed, her own. Lavinia has taken the staff into her mouth and created her own tongue. The woman who could not even utter the word “rape” now writes it clearly on the ground. Lavinia’s writing of “rape” in the dirt, however, does introduce interesting questions about gender. In 2.3, Lavinia’s feminine decency paralyzes her tongue, preventing it from saying the word “rape.” She insinuated that even uttering the word would taint her womanhood. This raises issues as to the impact upon her essential womanhood once she is raped and bears to write it down. In taking the staff into her mouth, Lavinia figuratively gains male genitalia, the stick serving as a phallic symbol. Traditionally, males are the bodies of action, but here Lavinia has taken action. Lavinia has gained empowerment but has lost the essence of her womanhood. Once her story has been told, however, once she finds a way to take charge and physically scrawl Demetrius and Chiron’s names on the ground and action has been taken, she is erased. Lavinia has exhausted her function in society and in the play. Even discounting her physical maladies, Lavinia is a ruined woman. Her husband is dead and she has been shamed and dishonored. She can never return to her role as chaste daughter. Never again can she be a wife. Her role has been irrevocably
64

Berger 719.

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Lavinia disrupted. Furthermore, she has given the men of her family all that they needed: the names of her rapists, the names of those who will now be the objects of Titus’ cruel revenge. Her job is done. After Marcus asks Lavinia to kneel with them after she has written down her assailants’ names, she is not addressed throughout the rest of the scene. Her male relatives do not comfort her or ask her more questions. It is as if Lavinia is no longer there. The men will avenge her crime, but after that they have little other use for her. She has sealed her destruction. According to Dessen, in a Deborah Warner stage production, Lavinia “conveyed vividly a sense of euphoria at this breakthrough, an initial reaction that was soon followed (once events had passed her by) by a let-down that was acted out in a slow, shambling exit upstage during Marcus’ closing speech.”65 The men onstage essentially ignore Lavinia as a victim. The rest of the play depicts Lavinia completing her saga of erasure, for after Chiron and Demetrius are dead, there is nothing left for her. Although the level of her involvement is left to the discretion of the director, Lavinia does play a role in the death of her rapists. When Titus slits their throats, it is Lavinia who holds the basin between her amputated arms to collect their “guilty blood” as it drips from their throats (5.2.182). She is physically active, but a tool for Titus’ revenge plot. Revenge is the only option open to the Andronici given their social context. In fact, as Maurice Hunt remarks in an article examining different forms of "compelling art" in Titus Andronicus, through Marcus' invocation of the legend of Troy, likening Titus and Lucius to Hector and Junius Brutus in iv.i, he provides literary models, artistic examples, of how his own family can seek bloody vengeance. Furthermore, Titus states that "for worse than Philomel you used my daughter,/ And worse than Progne I' will be
65

Dessen 66.

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Lavinia reveng'd" (5.2.194-5). Titus kills Lavinia just as Virginius killed his daughter. Literary works act as paragons. In this case, “literary images can suggest meaningful patterns of behavior.66 The Andronici must seek revenge. Lavinia must die to close her tale and her suffering in a satisfying way. Lavinia’s death is her final act as a performance artist. She even enters in costume, dressed in a veil. Although it is Titus who slits her throat, and although he may do so for selfish reasons (“Die, die Lavinia, and thy shame with thee/ And with thy shame thy father’s sorrow die!”), this act of murder is also an act of mercy given the social context and a recognition of the devastating losses to her person and status that have rendered Lavinia’s life unlivable (5.3.46-7). In Warner’s production, Lavinia steps to Titus with her back towards the audience. When he performs the act of killing her, Lavinia is seated on his lap.67 In 1978, at Stratford, William Hurt played the final scene entirely as a manifestation of charity, ridding Lavinia of her shame.68 Although she can reach her full potential as a fully realized character after the attack, the role of a Shakespearean rape victim is still severely limited. Her function is to assist in righting the wrong of the crime in an act of revenge and then disappearing to erase the trauma’s existence from the stage.

Maurice Hunt, “Compelling Art in Titus Andronicus,” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900. (Spring, 1988) 204. <http://www.jstor.org>. 67 Dessen 60. 68 Ashley 425.

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Conclusion Conclusion

In Shakespeare’s body of work, the subject matter of rape is not unique to The Rape of Lucrece and Titus Andronicus. In fact, allusions to sexual assault are made throughout Shakespeare’s writings, spanning the entirety of his career. In most of his other pieces, however, rape is only alluded to or threatened, but is never fully actualized. Shakespeare presents rape in a variety of contexts. It can be an act of revenge, an attempt to force someone’s hand in marriage (marrying one’s rapist was often seen as the only ways to erase the shame of the crime);69 or a loss of the rapist’s sexual control. In the case of Caliban in The Tempest, it is revealed that the monster tried to rape Miranda but was stopped by her father. Remorseless, Caliban says, “O ho, O ho! wouldn’t had been done… I had peopled else/ This isle with Calibans” (1.2.349-53). Miranda is present when Caliban makes this declaration, and yet she says nothing about his intended crime. Considering that Miranda is the one who taught Caliban how to speak, it is interesting that she gave him language but he has rendered her speechless. Rape is often threatened in Shakespeare. In The Two Gentlemen of Verona, written before Shakespeare’s earliest tragedies, Proteus lusts after Silvia, who is in love with his friend, Valentine. When Proteus follows Silvia into the woods and tries to woo her, his advances are denied. Outraged, Proteus responds that if Silvia cannot be changed “to a milder form,/ I’ll woo you like a soldier, at arms’ end./ And love you ‘gainst the nature of love – force you” (Two Gentlemen, 5.4.58-61). As he seizes Silvia, the

69

Williams 95.

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Conclusion frightened, intended victim cries, “O, heaven!” (5.4.62). This is Silvia’s last vocal assertion for the remainder of the play. She is rendered speechless by Proteus’ intended attack. Furthermore, when Valentine leaves a space in which he has been hiding to rebuke Proteus, the potential rapist shows remorse and Valentine, satisfied, offers Silvia to her would-be rapist to show that there is no ill will. An apology is not issued to Silvia but to her fiancé; she is not consulted. The now silenced Silvia is an object to be passed between men. Allusions to rape in the woods occur throughout Shakespeare. Outside of the home and an uncivilized, lawless environment, the woods are a hidden place to carry out acts of impurity; the woods are, after all, where Chiron and Demetrius raped and mutilated Lavinia. In act three, scene five of Cymbeline, Cloten plots revenge against his spurned lover, Imogen, and her fiancé. He plans to follow them into the woods to kill his adversary and then rape Imogen. Fortunately for Imogen, this plot never comes to fruition. However, the woods are depicted not only as providing cover to hide crime, but as offering an unregulated place that can even inspire these lustful acts. Demetrius threatens Helena with rape if she follows him into the forest any longer, “You do impeach your modesty too much/ To leave the city and commit yourself/ Into the hands of one that loves you not,/ To trust the opportunity of night/ And the ill counsel of a desert place/ With the rich worth of your virginity” (2.1.214-219). Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be performed rather than read, thus, directorial interpretations of rape also must be taken into account. A John Hancock production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Theatre de Lys in 1968 was sexually erotic and vulgar. Hippolyta, the captured Amazonian, is dragged onstage, caged and guarded. She is a

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Conclusion captive donning leopard skins, ferocious, and vindictive.70 She is there by force, perhaps a victim of rape. This makes Theseus’ lines, “I wooed thee with my sword/ And won thy love, doing thee injuries” all the more ominous (1.1.16-7). While “sword” is a euphemism for “penis,” creating a double entendre, if Hippolyta is seen as an unwilling captive, then Theseus is admitting to having taken his wife by force and having his way with her as an act of violence. The humor of the line is thus lost. However, since Hippolyta is now married to Theseus, her presumed rapist, the crime may be, in the Elizabethan framework, erased. It is only a modern concept that a husband can rape his wife.71 Another example of what today would be conceptualized as marital rape occurs in The Taming of the Shrew. Petruchio is depicted as an abusive husband, denying Kate food and beating her into submission. In a 2008 production of the play by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Petruchio is displayed having sex with Kate’s limp and lifeless body. Thus, without stepping outside the bounds of the text, directors have interpreted the Shakespearean canon as including further instances of actualized rape. These directors take Shakespeare’s lead by reacting to his textual implications of rape and representing it on the stage. The Rape of Lucrece and Titus Andronicus are unique in that they, alone, fully present rape as a pivotal, actualized event in its entirety, including its emotional consequences for the female victim. Rape lies at the crux of these two early tragedies; it is not merely a construct of a director or an event alluded to in passing. Furthermore, The Rape of Lucrece and Titus Andronicus are unique in the way that they develop the

Alan Lewis, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Fair Fantasy or Erotic Nightmare” Educational Theatre Journal, (Oct 1969) 251. <http://www.jstor.org>. 71 K. Bugress-Jackson. “Wife Rape.” Public Affairs Quarterly (Jan 1998) 1-22.

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Conclusion character of the rape victim. Even if she is silenced by the assault, quite literally in the case of Lavinia, the violated woman has an emotional reaction and arc after the crime has been committed against her body. And even though Lucrece and Lavinia both choose to end their lives, they are both fully developed and endowed with complexity. The emotional depth of Lucrece and Lavinia’s reactions to their trauma foreshadows the characters of Shakespeare’s other heroines, particularly the innocent victims. In Hamlet, Ophelia suffers the loss of her former lover. Her intended trajectory towards marriage and the role of wife and princess is stopped short. Jan Kott writes, “Lavinia lacks the awareness of suffering that plunged Ophelia into her madness.”72 Ophelia is never depicted in the text as having been raped, although numerous stage productions have chosen to have Hamlet almost raping her. Following a Peter Brooks production of Hamlet at Stratford-upon-Avon, Jan Kott, a reviewer from the Birmingham Post, describes Hamlet suddenly and violently reaching up Ophelia’s skirt in a rash attack after which she “looks lucky to escape with her life.”73 But Ophelia does react to what she sees as her victimization as if she were a victim of rape. Showalter writes that, “In Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, the stage direction that a woman enters with disheveled hair indicates that she might either be mad or the victim of a rape; the disordered hair, her offence against decorum, suggests sensuality in each case.”74 Ophelia is directed to enter with her hair tangled before her death.

Jan Kott, “Titus” ed. Philip C. Kolin Titus Andronicus: Critical Essays (New York: Garland, 1995) 394. 73 Marvin Rosenberg, The Masks of Hamlet, (NJ: Associated University Press, 1992) 535. 74 Elaine Showalter, “Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness, and the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism,” Ed. Patricia Parker and Geoffrey Hartman. (New York: Routledge, 1993) 3.

72

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Conclusion Just as Lavinia and Lucrece learn to express themselves through artistic and symbolic means of communication in an attempt to alleviate the pain of their victimization, so does Ophelia. Brian Lyons even believes that, “Of all the characters in Hamlet, Ophelia is most persistently presented in terms of symbolic meaning”75 She is dressed in white, decorated by garlands, her hair down, and singing until she ends her life by drowning. She is giving away flowers, deflowering herself. “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance… And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts… There’s fennel for you and columbines” and “rue” and “daisy” and “violets” (4.5.174-83). Finally, she sings a nonsensical song leading to her death. Words have escaped her and she can only communicate her feelings of madness and confusion through song. Although these women exist within the strictures and legal schemata of their societies, which could be seen as diminishing them to the status of property, Shakespeare takes a large initiative in the evolution of artists freeing those women from that status to show them as three-dimensional, significant human beings. His interest is in the individual rather than the crime committed against her. Shakespeare explores the pain of doomed female characters by giving them their own voices. Even if they are physically incapable of expressing their voices through speech, their inner-suffering and interior pain comes through in moments of creative artistry.

75

Showalter 2.

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