in Last Chronicle of Barset

Chapter 26 – The Picture


Conway Dalrymple states that women like Lucretia and Charlotte Corday, women who have been violent or criminal, are more interesting in paintings than the Madonnas and the Saint Cecilias.  Livy tells the story of Lucretia in book 1 of his History of Rome. Lucretia was a Roman wife who killed herself after being raped by Sextus Tarquinius.  Conway is using this reference to criminal or violent women to get Clara to model Jael for him.  [KD 2006]

Sources:  Livy, History of Rome 1.57-59.


Still climbing trees in the Hesperides

One of Hercules’ twelve labors was to retrieve a golden apple from a tree guarded by a dragon in the Garden of the Hesperides.  This is alluded to in Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost when Biron says “For valour, is not a Love a Hercules, / Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?”  This allusion occurs when Mrs. Broughton tells Conway Dalrymple that he needs to woo Clara by “climbing the tree.”  Conway responds that he has already done his climbing, referring to the unspoken relationship between the Mrs. Broughton and himself.  [KD 2006]

Sources:  Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.
Shakespeare, Love’s Labor’s Lost 4.3.359-360.