Lust- breathed Tarquin – Lucrece, the name of chaste

Antagonism, parallelism, and chiasmus

in William Shakespeare and John Donne
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The rape affects the soul of Tarquin and the body of Lucrece, and their antagonistic relationship that has been established throughout comes to its climax. Shakespeare expresses this relationship linguistically through parallelism and chiasmus which lends the epyllion iconic and performative qualities through the dynamics based on these formal structures. The opposition between the characters forms a unity. The action taking place between Tarquin and Lucrece becomes a reversed (and even perverted) love tragedy: lust encounters chastity and destroys it. At the same time, Tarquin’s evil action leads to political change and the institution of the Roman Republic. The underlying allegory connects poetry and drama with narrative as well as inner debates and the soliloquy in this drama of the soul.

William Shakespeare and John Donne

Stages of the soul in early modern English poetry

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