Venice Preserv'd

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A tragedy in blank verse by Otway, produced 1682.

Jaffeir, a noble Venetian youth, has secretly married Belvidera, daughter of a proud senator, Priuli, who has repudiated her. Jaffeir, reduced to poverty, begs Priuli for assistance, but is met with insults. Pierre, a foreign soldier with a grievance against the Venetian republic, stimulates Jaffeir's desire for revenge, confides in him a plot that is hatching against the State, and introduces him to the conspirators. As a pledge of his loyalty to them Jaffeir places Belvidera in the charge of their leader, Renault, but without explaining the reason. Renault tries to rape her in the night. She escapes to her husband, who in spite of his pledge to the contrary, makes known to her the conspiracy. To save her father, who as one of the senators is to be killed, she persuades Jaffeir to reveal the plot to the Senate, but to claim as reward the lives of the conspirators. These are arrested. Jaffeir, loaded by them with insults, is overwhelmed with remorse. The senators, in spite of their promise, condemn the conspirators to death. Jaffeir threatens to kill Belvidera unless she secures their pardon from her father. She succeeds, but Priuli's intervention is too late. Belvidera goes mad. Jaffeir stabs his friend Pierre on the scaffold and then himself, and Belvidera dies broken‐hearted.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Thomas Otway (1652—1685) playwright and poet

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