Added: December 3, 2016 – Last updated: December 3, 2016


Speaker: Melissa Sanchez

Title: Consent Without Agency in The Rape of Lucrece

Subtitle: -

Conference: 56th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America (April 8-10, 2010)

Session: Imaging Consent in Early Modern England and Ireland

Place: Venice, Italy

Date: April 8, 2010

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 16th Century | European History: English History | Representations: Literary Texts / William Shakespeare


Link: -


Abstract: »Feminist readings of The Rape of Lucrece have shown how the early modern tendency to conflate rape and seduction sustained male dominance and enabled female violation. What has been less remarked is that Lucrece’s vulnerable position may also register that of the male political subject who cannot effectively oppose corrupt rule. I propose that Lucrece explores in sexual terms the Foxean proposition that the truly virtuous subject will choose to die rather than obey ungodly commands, so submission, however coerced, is a sign of consent. The gendered language of rape and seduction provided Shakespeare a powerful idiom for analyzing political consent precisely because it depicts agency in such confused and paradoxical terms. By taking the cultural logic of seduction to extremes politically, Shakespeare reveals that its view of virtue, which is uncompromising and ambivalent, may disrupt the very gendered and political hierarchies it appears to sustain.« (Source: Renaissance Society of America website)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of England / Elizabethan era | Literature: English literature / Elizabethan literature | 16th-century English writers: William Shakespeare / The Rape of Lucrece