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The Cenci

16 May, 2017

by Percy Bysshe Shelley
arranged by Margaret Byskov

Count Francesco Cenci has continuously abused his family and committed other outrages including rape, incest and murder, and got away with it on payment of regular large amounts to the Pope.

His family and servants decide to kill him, and Beatrice eventually orders the act. With others, she is condemned to death by the Vatican and executed, at first protesting her innocence but eventually accepting her fate. Shelley points out a possible motive for the severity and imbalance of the punishment, saying that Beatrice had deprived the Vatican of a regular income; a footnote states that the Papal Government had tried to suppress the story.