Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
In the anteroom of the imperial palace Agrippine waits to speak with Néron, her son. The impatient nature of his character at last reveals itself in antagonistic behavior toward Britannicus, and Agrippine fears that she will next incur his disfavor. Albina is convinced of the emperor’s continued loyalty to his mother. Agrippine feels that if Néron is indeed noble, the fact that she wins the throne for him will ensure his devotion; but if he is ignoble, the fact of his obligation will turn him against her.
On the previous night Néron abducted Junie, to whom Britannicus is betrothed, a deed possibly motivated by resentment against Agrippine, who begins to support Britannicus in an attempt to preserve her position in the future if Néron is to turn against her. Albina assures Agrippine that her public power and honor, at least, are not decreasing. Agrippine, however, needs the assurance of a more personal trust. She confides that once Néron turned her aside from the throne on which she customarily sits in the Senate. She is also denied all private audiences with him.
Agrippine, reproaching Burrhus for disloyalty to her, accuses him of attempting to gain power over Néron. Burrhus is convinced that his prime loyalty is to the emperor, who rules well by his own authority. Néron fears that Britannicus’s children will inherit the throne if he marries Junie. Britannicus, distracted by his loss of Junie, complains of Néron’s harshness....
(The entire section is 1156 words.)
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