Diritti e miti: il caso di Beatrice Cenci

ANNO 51 2010
Aldo Mazzacane

Law and myths: the case of Beatrice Cenci
This essay is intended to explore the relationships between history-telling and the formation of myths, on the one side, and the construction of juridical discourse – that is the construction of evaluations and perspectives about the law – on the other. The case study is the well-known trial and execution of Beatrice Cenci in Rome (1599). Analysis regards the inquiry, the trial, and the legal procedure. Popular opinion in Rome considered Beatrice an innocent victim of her father’s monstrosity and of arbitrary justice. From Stendhal to Shelley and others, Beatrice’s destiny became the subject of poems, novels, operas, and films, all over the world. She also became the symbol of the perversity of criminal justice in the ancien régime.

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