Tyranny And The Nature Of Rape In Verginia, 'Lucretia'

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The tyrannical connection between all the above rape stories relates to the nature of rape. Tyranny, like rape, is an improper expression of dominance. Aggression is turned inward upon its own society; in Verginia’s story, for example, asks “what was the use of safeguarding a city in which one's children must suffer the horrors they would face had the enemy captured it?” (Livy, 3.47). Here, rape is the perfect symbol of tyranny and the disorder it causes. Following the restoration of order, this aggression is turned outward, to a proper expression of dominance: conquest. Joshel writes “Assured at home that their wives and children will not be treated as the conquered, these men can go forth [and] conquer and empire.” In Lucretia’s story, Brutus further focusses on a tyrant’s theft of the Roman man’s dominance by stating “the men of Rome, victorious over all their neighbours, had been turned into drudges and quarry slaves” (Livy 1.59). The rape inspires men to regain their dominance. Similarly, the Sabines’ rape resolves the insult to Rome, which is ultimately victorious over the Sabines sexually and politically, restoring their rightful political dominance. Thus, rape acts as a metaphor for Roman dominance, which during times of chaos is misplaced, but is returned to a proper expression of dominance when order is restored. Essentially, each rape story uses rape to represent a turning point between chaos and order, because rape, by its very nature, is a liminal action. Rape

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