Rape of Lucrece

The raped woman

Lucrece is described as if she were a work of art. Tarquin's rape of her is described as if she were a fortress under attack—conquering her various physical attributes. Although Lucrece is raped, the poem offers an apology to absolve her of guilt (lines 1240–46). Like Shakespeare's other raped women, Lucrece gains symbolic value: through her suicide, her body metamorphoses into a political symbol.

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