Rape as Metaphor

Rigoletto at Seattle Opera and The Rape of Lucretia at St. Mark's


Uh, you might want to stick to theater and not history: the Rape of Lucretia is hardly a "historical event", and it is said to have led to the founding of the Roman *Republic*, not Empire. The whole point of the story is to avoid having an single person with the power to do whatever he wants with other people's wives.
Gilda (in Rigoletto) gets raped, but then decides she loves the guy and offers herself up as a substitute victim when she finds out her dad has taken out a contract on the rapist. (The hit man decides one body-in-a-bag is as good as another.) So in her case, it's not rape --> shame --> suicide, but more like rape --> "love" (or something) --> noble/misguided self-sacrifice.
@2 I agree that Rebecca is simplifying the plot in a way to fit her thesis. Since it is the father who paid for the assasin to kill the king, but who ends up killing his daughter instead, it is more like she is willingly giving herself up as a sacrifice for society's mores, even as her family is moving away from inward focussed honor killing. Anyway, I saw Rigoletto once and I haven't wanted to see it again. I don't care how good the tunes are. It is one of the the most depressing dramas I have ever seen. Almost everybody is a horrible human being. And then when it is topped off by the father seeing that he has killed his own daughter. Ugh, I lost all hope for humanity for a month afterward.
Lately it seems as if every play, movie, or TV drama has rape in it. I'm looking at you, Downton.
The review of "The Rape of Lucretia", an historical event, was given an excellent review of an opera that had many depths to it. Brava to you my dear Rebecca
Yes, the history in this review is unreliable, and so is the theater. There is no rape in Verdi's Rigoletto. This point was made with vigor, post-performance, by Speight Jenkins last Wed. evening . The violent abduction by the group precedes a (probably cynical) seduction and naive acquiescence by someone not involved in the abduction. It's a common misapprehension of the story; the reality makes it even more interesting and tragic.
I'm so happy this was addressed. I was disturbed the 1st time I saw Rigaletto, because women always fall in love with their rapist, right? There is a strange balance between a catchy score and a dark underlying story that leaves you conflicted. Hopefully. Thank you for this article.
It's not necessarily rape in Rigoletto. She was certainly abducted but it's not stated that the sex was non-consensual. I see it as more of a seduction. After all, Gilda was in love with him already. That explains her guilt and her sacrifice far more satisfactorily. It wasn't because she had been wronged, it was because she had succumbed.