The Cenci begins with Cardinal Camillo talking with the powerful Count Cenci about a murder in which Cenci is implicated. Camillo threatens to publicly proclaim the crime unless Cenci gives a third of his possessions to the Pope, but Cenci refuses, jeers at the Church, and stresses his desire to “practice evil.” When Camillo leaves, Cenci expands on his desires, suggesting that he wants to kill his wife and two of his sons, as well as rape his daughter Beatrice.
In the next scene, Beatrice is with her lover Orsino in a moonlit garden in the Cenci palace. Beatrice laments that her father is keeping them apart, but when Orsino vows to overcome all obstacles for their love, Beatrice tells him that their love is doomed because of her duty to her family. She then expresses her loathing for her father and departs for dinner.
At the dinner, Cenci frightens his guests by telling them that two of his “rebellious” sons have been killed and that he wishes his entire family doom and destruction. Beatrice begs the guests not to leave, and Cenci threatens to kill anyone’s offspring who says anything about what has happened at dinner. Cenci orders everyone away except Beatrice, whom he approaches and tells that he knows the “charm” to make her “meek and tame.” Beatrice flees and Cenci says that now she cannot escape him.
The second act begins with Lucretia...
(The entire section is 854 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Cenci Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!