The Rape of Lucretia
The Rape of Lucretia
Roman culture was largely based on the citizens’ honor. Honor was one of the most important aspects of a Roman citizen’s life. Honor was very important to Roman society. Lucretia displayed her honor in two ways, first she served Sextus Tarquinius and his men, and then she killed herself after being raped by Sextus Tarquinius, the son of the king. “I will absolve myself of blame, and I will not free myself from punishment. No women shall use Lucretia as her example of dishonor.” Conlatinus tried to persuade her saying she did not have to kill herself and she had done no wrong. She could not live with herself because she was violated.
“They promised her that they would pursue him, and they tried to appease her sorrow, saying that it was the soul that did no wrong and not the body, and because she had no intention, she did no wrong.” They tried to tell her she had done nothing wrong, that she had no intention to be raped, but that failed. “Then she took up the knife which she had hidden beneath her robe, and plunged it through her heart.” Conlatinus, her husband, knelt by her side. She would have died a dishonorable woman if she did not kill herself. Also by killing herself, she could not be used as a source of dishonor and shame for Roman society.
Brutus then took the knife and said “By this blood, which was so pure before the crime of the prince, I swear before you, O gods, to chase the King Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, with his criminal wife and all their offspring, by fire, iron, and all the methods I have at my disposal, and never to tolerate Kings in Rome evermore, whether of that family of any other.” He used this as an example to end the reign of Kings in Rome. This showed vast honor, promising to avenge his friend’s wife by pursuing the king’s entire family for the horrible crime Sextus committed.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 21 October 2016
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