Rape of Lucrece Summary

Rape of Lucrece Summary

Rape of Lucrece is a narrative poem by William Shakespeare about the rape of Collatine's wife Lucrece by Tarquin. Collatine of Collatium once bragged about the beauty of his wife Lucrece before Tarquin. While Collatine was away, Tarquin sneaked into his house and told his wife about his stories of the battle-field. Tarquin decides to spend the night at Lucrece's place.

Having seen Lucrece's beauty himself, Tarquin is overcome with lust and therefore, he enters Lucrece's chamber at night. On his first touch, Lucrece's awakens and is frightened to see him. He asks her to give herself to him or else he would kill her and defame her by showing that she was sleeping with one of the slaves and thus Tarquin killed them both. Lucrece pleads for mercy but Tarquin doesn't accept. He rapes her and leaves her place.

Lucrece is overcome with shame and writes a letter to Collatine, and asks him to come home soon. She narrates the whole incident to him and on his promise to take revenge, she tells him the name of the rapist. She stabs herself with a knife and dies. Collatine wants to die as well in the grief of his wife but he decides to avenge his wife's dishonor and death. Tarquin and his family are banished from the kingdom at the end of the poem.

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