Cenci, Beatrice

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Beatrice Cenci (bā´ätrē´chā chān´chē), 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.