Count Cenci (chen-chee), the malevolent patriarch of a wealthy Renaissance family. In his late sixties, he is arrogant, blasphemous, and sadistically cruel to all the members of his family. His primary motivation in practicing evil is that he identifies himself with nature and, therefore, must abandon himself to his desires. After bribing the pope to pardon him for murdering some old enemies, he organizes a luxurious orgy, during which he triumphantly announces the deaths of his two sons and threatens both his wife, Lucretia, and his daughter, Beatrice. After repeatedly raping Beatrice, he is murdered by assassins hired by Beatrice and Lucretia, but not before arranging for their deaths with the pope, to whom he has willed his entire estate.
Beatrice Cenci, a young, beautiful, and highly sensitive virgin. The only daughter of the wicked count, she is terrified of what he has blatantly threatened to do to her and spends half the play trying to avoid him. After her father rapes her, she is forced either to submit to his repeated assaults or to murder him. Her major revelation in the play is that her only choice is to be a victim or a victimizer and that either choice will send her to eternal damnation. Shortly before she is executed by order of the pope, she realizes that her major crime was in being born.
Lucretia Cenci (lew-
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