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Written by Timothy Sexton
Chaste and devoted wife of Collatine who becomes the victim of rape at the hands of Tarquin. The central event which gives the poem is narrative is more complex than might be expected. Lucrece is unusually intelligent and capable of great persuasion and she makes the attempt to save herself from her fate, as might be expected. What may not be expected is that in trying to safe herself from Tarquin, she also attempts to save Tarquin from the darker aspects of his own nature. Ultimately she chooses to kill herself rather than disgrace her own marital bed with a body corrupted and poisoned by another man.
Tarquin’s approach to the rape of Lucrece is almost more complex than one should expect. Overcome with sexual desire, he is fully aware of the disgrace his venal act will be bring upon him. The better angels of his nature to which Lucrece vainly appeals is certainly manifest, but at the same time it is impossible to characterize him as anything other than a sly manipulator of the ethical and moral divisions operating within his soul.
In a cruel twist of ironic fate, it is precisely the chastity and fidelity of Lucrece that seals her doom. Collatine cannot help but brag about what a catch he’s found and it is this boating that becomes the mechanism driving Tarquin to quit resisting his desire for Lucrece. Collatine hardly seems worthy of Lucrece; he stands by and allows her to plan to kill herself to go unimpeded.
Father of Lucrece who is moved by Collatine’s seeming indifference to his wife’s decision to kill herself to assert primacy over her body in death, ahead of her husband.
Not appearing until almost the very end of the poem, he exploits the suicide of Lucrece and uses the dagger that remains stained with her blood to Tarquin’s father, the last king of Rome. In so doing, he becomes the founder Roman Republic
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