Article: PDF
DOI: 10.26170/FK20-04-16
Abstract: A. Pushkin called Lucrece “a rather weak poem”. A. Anikst wrote about its weakness, moreover, he considered Lucrece’s speculations hardly appropriate for her. The article dascussess a different view on the poem that allows seeing behind the ‘confusion’ of the main character a dramatization of psychological dilemmas of the Catholics in Elizabethan England. Narrating an episode from the history of Rome, Shakespeare speaks about the events contemporary to him. ‘To live or die’ was a vital question for Elizabethan Roman Catholics at the beginning of the 1590s. They had to conform to the laws of church attendance and accept other ecclesiastical requirements of the established church of England. In Lucrece’s plight the reader might vividly feel the suffering of a persecuted community. While the authorities violated the belief of Catholics, the Jesuits strove to make them martyrs in their attempt to resist the authorities. The Jesuits didn’t approve of the compromise with the state and considered the attendance of the protestant service as temporizing. They insisted that those who brought their bodies to the church of heretics could not (by some mystical division) have their souls in the Catholic Church. The dichotomy of body and soul was vital for the epoch, as well as the question ‘to be or not to be a martyr’. To cipher it in such a way was a great art of Shakespeare.
Key words: English literature; English poetry; English poets; poetic creativity; poetic genres; poetic subjects; Catholic poems; Catholicism; Jesuits.

For citation

Egorova, L. V. (2020). Shakespeare’s Lucrece as a “Catholic” Poem. In Philological Class. 2020. Vol. 25 ⋅ №4. P. 165–172. DOI 10.26170/FK20-04-16.