Chapter

“Accessory Yieldings”

Melissa E. Sanchez

in Erotic Subjects

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199754755
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896912 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199754755.003.0004
“Accessory Yieldings”

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Chapter Four argues that whereas Spenser is concerned with the collapse of spiritual resolve, Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece and Pericles consider the problem of physical defeat. Is a subject still complicit with tyranny when he or she has been overcome? Both Lucrece and Pericles understand this problem in terms of rape. Because rape may leave such physical marks as pregnancy or disease, the violated woman poses the contradiction of a pure mind in a polluted body. The individual agency that both Sidney and Spenser take for granted itself becomes a problem, since the virtuous subject is held responsible for resisting tyranny that cannot be stopped. By concluding with descriptions of armed popular revolts, these works move beyond the individual and aristocratic focus of Sidney and Spenser to imagine a world of such overwhelming corruption that organized rebellion may be the only antidote to tyranny.

Keywords: Shakespeare; rape; gender; sexuality; neo-stoicism; Elizabeth I; James I; seventeenth-century political history

Chapter.  14218 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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