Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
Prince Vincentio was deeply in love with Margaret, a gentlewoman of the court, but his courtship was inhibited by the fact that his father, Duke Alphonso, was also in love with the girl. Since the duke was not a man to tolerate opposition, it was unthinkable for Vincentio to become his father’s open rival. When he disclosed his feelings to his close friend, Count Strozza, his friend encouraged him to carry on his suit in secret.
Meanwhile, the duke was planning a boar hunt near the home of Count Lasso, Margaret’s father. It was not the hunt that interested the duke, but the festivities at Lasso’s house that would follow, for he hoped that he would be able to advance his cause with Margaret during the feast. The duke’s chief ally in this cause and his favorite courtier at the moment was Medice, a base lord noted for his poor apparel and his illiteracy. Contemptuous and suspicious of this upstart, Strozza and Vincentio grasped every opportunity to ridicule him.
When the duke arrived at Lasso’s castle, where elaborate preparations had been made for his entertainment, he was bound as a captive. His men, dressed in costumes, explained to Margaret that he was a captive to her charms. She unbound him and, though she fully understood the duke’s intentions, treated the matter as a compliment and jest.
Acting for his master, Medice sought information about Margaret. Aware of her coolness toward the duke, he believed that she must...
(The entire section is 1230 words.)
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