This picture is an illustration of the story of Beatrice Cenci, the young woman who planned the murder of her guardian, in Rome, in the year of 1599. We see Francesco Cenci, who is an extremely gruff and cruel man, with Beatrice, who is his ward. He makes love to her, but she spurns his entreaties, for she has one who is very dear to her heart by the name of Guido. She writes a note to him to come to the tower of the castle, which he does, and gains access to her quarters by means of a rope ladder, which she lowers from the window. We see them planning a nefarious crime, and while he goes to get the aid of two ruffians, she drags the old man by putting a potion in his wine, and soon he is feeling the effects of the poison and retires to his room, where he lays in a stupor on his cot. Guido returns with his assistants and they enter the old man's chamber and while he is sleeping sink a knife into his heart. They throw the body from a window and make good their escape, but some servants who have heard the excitement rush out and find the corpse of their master lying in a heap under the window. They immediately pursue the murderers, and overtake them in a lonely spot in the woods, where they kill Guido and one of his companions, but spare the other fellow, who promises to reveal the secrets of the plot. They take him back to the castle and there confront him with Beatrice, who is apparently in deep grief over the body of her dead guardian. He accuses her of being the instigator of the crime and she is taken to prison. The last picture shows her in the prison and submitting to the tortures of the strappado, but she strongly proclaims her innocence of any hand in the affair. Finally she is confronted with the body of her lover Guido, and, realizing her loss, she confesses and is condemned to die on the scaffold.
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