Rape, Massacre, the Lucrece Tradition, and Alarum for London

Georgina Lucas


This article explores the conflation of rhetorical and physical acts of rape and massacre in a range of early modern drama, culminating in a case study of the two phenomena in Alarum for London (1599). Rooting its analysis in the Lucrece myth, the essay demonstrates how prominent traditions of reading rape — as an attack on the soul, and as an attack on a city — provide a rubric through which Alarum can be understood. When enacted concomitantly, rape and massacre have the propensity to destroy body and soul, individual, and the wider society to which they belong.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12745/et.20.2.3208

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