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Beatrice Cenci

Cenci, Beatrice (bāˌätrēˈchā chānˈchē) [key], 1577–99, Italian noblewoman, tragic figure of the late Renaissance. Her father, Francesco Cenci (1549–98), was a Roman noble noted for his viciousness. In 1595 he imprisoned Beatrice and her stepmother Lucrezia in a lonely castle; his cruel treatment finally led Beatrice, with the complicity of her stepmother, her brothers, and her lover, to procure his murder. After a famous trial (1599) the conspirators were put to death. This tragedy, often cited as an example of the dissipation and cruelty of 16th-century Rome, is the subject of, among other works, Francesco D. Guerrazzi's novel Beatrice Cenci, Percy Bysshe Shelley's tragedy The Cenci, and Alberto Ginastera's opera Beatrix Cenci.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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