Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Duke Altofronto has been banished from Genoa. A political coup staged by Mendoza with the help of the Florentines brings the weak Pietro Jacomo to power through his marriage to Aurelia, the daughter of a powerful Florentine leader. Altofronto, disguised as Malevole, prepares to bide his time until the state wearies of the new duke. Altofronto’s devoted duchess, Maria, waits faithfully in prison for his return, and Celso acts as his secret informant on matters of state.
Altofronto, as the Malcontent, is described as a likable person of marked intelligence and straightforward honesty. He refuses to flatter as others do. On the negative side, however, he is described as more monster than man, more discontented than Lucifer in his fall, a man living on the vexations of others and at variance with his own soul. It is a mixture that makes him seem unpredictable and serves Altofronto well in plotting against his adversaries. This description of him comes from Pietro, who is strangely attracted to the erratic individual known as the Malcontent. It is Altofronto, disguised as Malevole, who tells Pietro that he is being cuckolded by Mendoza. This condition, Malevole declares, is most unnatural, for a cuckold is a creation of woman and not of God. In this way, Altofronto torments Pietro and inflames him against Mendoza.
Incensed by the thought of a relationship between Mendoza and Aurelia, Pietro confronts the minion with accusations and threats to...
(The entire section is 1054 words.)
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