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  • Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)


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A verse tragedy by P. B. Shelley, published 1819 and 1821.

The melodramatic plot is taken from the true story of Beatrice Cenci, who was tried and executed for the murder of her father, count Francesco Cenci, at Rome in 1599. Shelley was attracted by the themes of incest and atheism: the play concentrates on the Iago‐like evil of the count and the inner sufferings of Beatrice. Beatrice's great speech on the prospect of death, ‘So young to go | Under the obscure, cold, rotting, wormy ground!’ (V. 4) is based on Claudio's in Measure for Measure (iii. i).

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).

Reference entries

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792—1822) poet