Shakespeare’s “graver labour,” the follow-up long poem to mega-hit Venus and Adonis, is a strange piece indeed. Right after her horrific rape, Lucrece, Roman paragon of womanly virtue, takes a tour of the art on her own walls for about a tenth of the entire poem.
What is Shakespeare saying about the relevance of “reading” art and applying it to one’s own circumstances and experiences?
Join Prof. Michael Delahoyde at School of Night on November 13, 9pm EST/6pm PST. We’ll observe the Italian paintings of the Trojan War that have been identified as having inspired Shakespeare (although that identification also poses a significant problem). But what is this poem really about, and why is it a “dramatic” poem rather than an actual play?
Class prep is optional – read the poem ahead of time if you like:
Rape of Lucrece full text (also available in e-reader formats)
Rape of Lucrece full audiobook (free via Librivox)