The Revenger’s Tragedy

Lussurioso Character Analysis

Lussurioso is the Duke’s son and heir, the product of his father’s marriage prior to the Duchess. He is consumed by lust, taking after his father, and spends much of his time trying to manipulate events and people in order to bring about the satisfaction of his sexual desires. Lussurioso describes himself as “past [his] depth in lust” and asks Hippolito to find him a pander—essentially a pimp—who can acquire a virgin for him. He is briefly imprisoned when he bursts on in his father and the Duchess in bed, thinking he will catch her instead with Spurio. When the Duke dies, Lussurioso is briefly crowned as the ruler, secretly relishing his increase in power. It doesn’t last for long though, as Vindice and his accomplices soon appear, murdering Lussurioso and his entourage. Lussurioso’s Italian name roughly translates to “lust” and “lewd.”

Lussurioso Quotes in The Revenger’s Tragedy

The The Revenger’s Tragedy quotes below are all either spoken by Lussurioso or refer to Lussurioso. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bloomsbury edition of The Revenger’s Tragedy published in 2009.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

Duke—royal lecher! Go, grey-haired adultery;
And thou his son, as impious steeped as he;
And thou his bastard true-begot in evil;
And thou his duchess that will do with devil;
Four ex’lent characters.

Related Characters: Vindice (speaker), The Duke, Lussurioso, The Duchess, Spurio
Page Number: 1-5
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 1, Scene 2  Quotes

SECOND JUDGE: Confess, my lord,
What moved you to’t?

JUNIOR BROTHER: Why, flesh and blood, my lord.
What should move men unto a woman else?

LUSSURIOSO: O do not jest thy doom; trust not an axe
Or sword too far. The law is a wise serpent
And quickly can beguile thee of thy life.

Related Characters: Lussurioso (speaker), Junior Brother (speaker), Antonio
Page Number: 46-50
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 1, Scene 3 Quotes

LUSSURIOSO: Attend me, I am past my depth in lust,
And I must swim or drown. All my desires
Are levelled at a virgin not far from Court,
To whom I have conveyed by messenger
Many waxed lines, full of my neatest spirit,
And jewels that were able to ravish her
Without the help of man: all which and more
She, foolish-chaste, sent back, the messengers
Receiving frowns for answers.

VINDICE: Possible?
'Tis a rare phoenix whoe'er she be.
If your desires be such, she so repugnant.

Related Characters: Vindice (speaker), Lussurioso (speaker), Castiza
Page Number: 88-99
Explanation and Analysis:
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O!
Now let me burst, I've eaten noble poison!
We are made strange fellows, brother, innocent villains:
Wilt not be angry when thou hear'st on't, think’st thou?
I'faith thou shalt. Swear me to foul my sister!
[Unsheathes his sword]
Sword I durst make a promise of him to thee,
Thou shalt dis-heir him, it shall be thine honour;
And yet, now angry froth is down in me,
It would not prove the meanest policy
In this disguise to try the faith of both.

Related Characters: Vindice (speaker), Hippolito, Lussurioso, Gratiana, Castiza
Page Number: 88-99
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

How hardly shall that maiden be beset
Whose only fortunes are her constant thoughts,
That has no other child's-part but her honour
That keeps her low and empty in estate.
Maids and their honours are like poor beginners:
Were not sin rich there would be fewer sinners:
Why had not virtue a revenue? Well,
I know the cause: 'twould have impoverished hell.

Related Characters: Castiza (speaker), Vindice, Lussurioso
Page Number: 1-8
Explanation and Analysis:
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VINDICE: What think you now lady? Speak, are you wiser?
What said advancement to you? Thus it said:
The daughter's fall lifts up the mother's head.
Did it not madam? But I'll swear it does
In many places; tut, this age fears no man.
‘‘Tis no shame to be bad, because 'tis common.’

GRATIANA: Aye, that's the comfort on't.

VINDICE: The comfort on't!
I keep the best for last; can these persuade you
To forget heaven—
[Gives her money]

GRATIANA: Ay, these are they—

VINDICE [aside]: O!

GRATIANA: —that enchant our sex; these are the means
That govern our affections. That woman
Will not be troubled with the mother long,
That sees the comfortable shine of you;
I blush to think what for your sakes I'll do.

VINDICE [aside]: Oh suffering heaven with thy invisible finger
E'en at this instant turn the precious side
Of both mine eyeballs inward, not to see myself.

Related Characters: Vindice (speaker), Gratiana (speaker), Lussurioso, Castiza
Page Number: 111-127
Explanation and Analysis:
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GRATIANA: O, if thou knew'st
What 'twere to lose it, thou would never keep it.
But there's a cold curse laid upon all maids,
Whilst others clip the sun they clasp the shades!
Virginity is paradise, locked up.
You cannot come by yourselves without fee,
And 'twas decreed that man should keep the key:
Deny advancement, treasure, the duke's son!

CASTIZA: I cry you mercy; lady I mistook you,
Pray did you see my mother? Which way went you?
Pray God I have not lost her.

Related Characters: Gratiana (speaker), Castiza (speaker), Vindice, Lussurioso
Page Number: 148-158
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

LUSSURIOSO: Well this night I'll visit her, and 'tis till then
A year in my desires. Farewell, attend,
Trust me with thy preferment.
[Exit Lussurioso. Vindice puts his hand to his sword]

VINDICE: My loved lord.—
Oh shall I kill him o'the wrong-side now? No,
Sword thou wast never a back-biter yet.
I'll pierce him to his face, he shall die looking upon me;
Thy veins are swelled with lust, this shall unfill 'em.

Related Characters: Vindice (speaker), Lussurioso (speaker), Gratiana, Castiza
Page Number: 85-91
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

O, take me not in sleep; I have great sins.
I must have days—
Nay, months, dear son, with penitential heaves,
To lift 'em out and not to die unclear;
O, thou wilt kill me both in heaven and here.

Related Characters: The Duke (speaker), Lussurioso, The Duchess, Spurio
Page Number: 8-13
Explanation and Analysis:
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It well becomes that judge to nod at crimes
That does commit greater himself, and lives.
I may forgive a disobedient error
That expect pardon for adultery,
And in my old days am a youth in lust.
Many a beauty have I turned to poison
In the denial, covetous of all.
Age hot, is like a monster to be seen:
My hairs are white, and yet my sins are green.

Related Characters: The Duke (speaker), Lussurioso
Page Number: 124-133
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 4, Scene 2 Quotes

Has not heaven an ear? Is all the lightning wasted?

Related Characters: Vindice (speaker), Lussurioso, The Duchess, Spurio , Gratiana, Castiza
Related Symbols: Natural Phenomena
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 4, Scene 4 Quotes

GRATIANA: Are you so barbarous, to set iron nipples
Upon the breast that gave you suck?

VINDICE: That breast
Is turned to quarled poison.

GRATIANA: Cut not your days for't: am not I your mother?

VINDICE: Thou dost usurp that title now by fraud,
For in that shell of mother breeds a bawd.

GRATIANA: A bawd! Oh name far loathsomer than hell!

HIPPOLITO: It should be so, knew'st thou thy office well.

Related Characters: Vindice (speaker), Hippolito (speaker), Gratiana (speaker), Lussurioso, Castiza
Page Number: 5-12
Explanation and Analysis:
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GRATIANA: Bethink again, thou know'st not what thou say'st.

CASTIZA: No—deny advancement, treasure, the duke's son?

GRATIANA: O see, I spoke those words, and now they poison me.
What will the deed do then?
Advancement? True, as high as shame can pitch.
For treasure? Who e'er knew a harlot rich
Or could build by the purchase of her sin
An hospital to keep their bastards in?
The duke's son! Oh when women are young courtiers,
They are sure to be old beggars;
To know the miseries most harlots taste
Thou'd'st wish thyself unborn, when thou’rt unchaste.

CASTIZA: Oh mother let me twine about your neck
And kiss you till my soul melt on your lips:
I did but this to try you.

GRATIANA: Oh speak truth!

CASTIZA: Indeed I did not;
For no tongue has force to alter me from honest.
If maidens would, men's words could have no power;
A virgin honour is a crystal tower,
Which, being weak, is guarded with good spirits:
Until she basely yields, no ill inherits.

Related Characters: Hippolito (speaker), Gratiana (speaker), Castiza (speaker), Lussurioso
Page Number: 134-154
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

My lords, be all of music;
Strike old griefs into other countries
That flow in too much milk and have faint livers,
Not daring to stab home their discontents.
Let our hid flames break out, as fire, as lightning
To blast this villainous dukedom vexed with sin:
Wind up your souls to their full height again […]
And when they think their pleasures sweet and good,
In midst of all their joys, they shall sigh blood.

Related Characters: Vindice (speaker), The Duke, Lussurioso
Related Symbols: Natural Phenomena
Page Number: 1-22
Explanation and Analysis:
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Act 5, Scene 3 Quotes

ANTONIO: Bear 'em to speedy execution. […]

VINDICE: May not we set as well as the duke's son?
Thou hast no conscience: are we not revenged?
Is there one enemy left alive amongst those?
When murderers shut deeds close this curse does seal 'em:
If none disclose 'em, they themselves reveal 'em!
This murder might have slept in tongueless brass
But for ourselves, and the world died an ass.
Now I remember too; here was Piato
Brought forth a knavish sentence once:
No doubt, said he, but time
Will make the murderer bring forth himself.
'Tis well he died, he was a witch.—
And now my lord, since we are in for ever:
This work was ours, which else might have been slipped;
And if we list we could have nobles clipped
And go for less than beggars. But we hate
To bleed so cowardly: we have enough—
I'faith we're well: our mother turned, our sister true,
We die after a nest of dukes! Adieu.
Exeunt [Vindice and Hippolito, guarded)

ANTONIO: How subtly was that murder closed! Bear up
Those tragic bodies; 'tis a heavy season.
Pray heaven their blood may wash away all treason.

Related Characters: Vindice (speaker), Antonio (speaker), Hippolito, The Duke, Lussurioso, Gratiana, Castiza
Related Symbols: Natural Phenomena
Page Number: 106-130
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lussurioso Character Timeline in The Revenger’s Tragedy

The timeline below shows where the character Lussurioso appears in The Revenger’s Tragedy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
...skull of his deceased fiancée, Gloriana. He watches from afar as the Duke, the Duchess, Lussurioso (the Duke’s eldest son by an earlier marriage), and Spurio (the Duke’s bastard son) go... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Lust Theme Icon
...the Duchess’s attraction to him. Hippolito explains that there has indeed been an interesting development: Lussurioso has asked Hippolito to provide him with “some base-coined pander.” (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
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Vindice says he isn’t surprised to hear Lussurioso’s request, because the Duke’s eldest son is notoriously lusty. He doesn’t think there’s any woman... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2 
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Lust Theme Icon
The Duke, Lussurioso, the Duchess, Spurio, and Ambitioso and Supervacuo, the Duchess’s other two sons, enter. Junior Brother... (full context)
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The Duchess pleads on her knees for Junior Brother to be shown mercy. Lussurioso says that mercy is superficial and false, but Ambitioso also asks the Duke to “be... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
...replies: “Why, flesh and blood, my lord. What should move man unto a woman else?” Lussurioso warns him not to be flippant with his answers. (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
...departs. Spurio says that despite his decision he hates the Duchess—as well as her sons, Lussurioso, and the Duke. He thinks his plan for revenge is logical: “For indeed a bastard... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
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Lust Theme Icon
...disguised as “Piato” the pander. Both are impressed with the convincing quality of Vindice’s disguise. Lussurioso enters, and Hippolito introduces him to Piato. He thanks Hippolito with some money before asking... (full context)
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
Vindice (as Piato) boasts of his achievements as a pander, telling Lussurioso he has been “witness to the surrenders of a thousand virgins.” Lussurioso is impressed by... (full context)
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
Lussurioso tells Vindice he is “past my depth in lust, And I must swim or drown.”... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Lust Theme Icon
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Vindice is eager to help Lussurioso and asks after the identity of the virgin. Much to his shock, it turns out... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
Vindice gives Castiza a letter from Lussurioso and is swiftly rewarded with a smack on the ear—Castiza says she had promised herself... (full context)
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
...mother, enters. Vindice, still in disguise, tries to persuade Gratiana to change Castiza’s mind about Lussurioso, tempting her with the promise of increased wealth and status. Gratiana is initially hesitant, calling... (full context)
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
...says “enchant[s] our sex.” She promises to convince Castiza to give up her chastity for Lussurioso. Just at this moment, Castiza re-enters. Gratiana tells her “virginity is paradise, locked up” and... (full context)
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
...“perish in thy office.” In an aside, Vindice praises Castiza’s “angelic” virtue. Gratiana promises that Lussurioso will be received well if he comes to their house. She exits; Vindice leaves too,... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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Lussurioso and Hippolito enter, with the former praising the latter’s judgment in finding him a good... (full context)
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
Lussurioso desperately requests news about whether Vindice has broken Castiza’s resolve: “Hast thou beguiled her of... (full context)
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Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
Lussurioso goes to leave, and Vindice wonders whether he should kill him there and then. He... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Lust Theme Icon
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...servants; Vindice and Hippolito hide in order to eavesdrop. Spurio learns from his servant that Lussurioso is about to travel to have his way with Castiza, and vows to kill Lussurioso... (full context)
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
Lust Theme Icon
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...and his servants exit. Vindice relishes the thought of the Duke being made a “cuckold.” Lussurioso comes back, requesting Piato’s (Vindice’s fake identity) presence on his trip to Castiza. Vindice and... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
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Vindice (still in disguise) leads Lussurioso to the Duchess’s chamber. Lussurioso draws his sword, hoping to kill Spurio, but discovers that... (full context)
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The Duke realizes that Lussurioso is his assailant; the Duke’s guards seize Lussurioso. Some noblemen, Ambitioso, and Supervacuo enter. The... (full context)
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Spurio enters with his servants. Lussurioso tries to tell the Duke about the Duchess’s affair with Spurio but is silenced and... (full context)
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...Supervacuo speak to the Duke. Though their intention on the surface is to bring about Lussurioso’s release, they deliberately try to subconsciously influence the Duke to punish Lussurioso as harshly as... (full context)
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With Ambitioso and Supervacuo gone, the Duke tells his noblemen that he will pardon Lussurioso. Left alone on stage, the Duke reasons that he ought to forgive those sins that... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
...order for death directly to the prison guards (rather than the judges) to bring about Lussurioso’s execution more quickly—and in doing so, increase their own power in the court. They also... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Lust Theme Icon
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
On the Duke’s orders, Lussurioso is freed from prison. He thanks the noblemen who have come to retrieve him, and... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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...for the execution of “the Duke’s son.” The two brothers feign sadness and regret for Lussurioso’s impending death and ask that he is killed in private rather than with a public... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 6
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Ambitioso and Supervacuo enter, bragging of the way they orchestrated Lussurioso’s execution. They plot to bring about Junior Brother’s release, with Ambitioso saying he has a... (full context)
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...and Supervacuo that he has brought them the “bleeding head,” which they assume to be Lussurioso’s. They feign solemn sadness and ask questions about the execution. (full context)
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Lussurioso suddenly appears on stage, much to Ambitioso and Supervacuo’s surprise. They pretend to have aided... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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Lussurioso and Hippolito enter. Lussurioso is angry with Hippolito for providing him with Piato (Vindice) the... (full context)
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Vindice (still as Piato) comes in but is sent away immediately by Lussurioso for his misinformation about Spurio and the Duchess. Lussurioso asks Hippolito if he has a... (full context)
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Hippolito exits to fetch Vindice. In the meantime, Lussurioso reveals that the proposed task for Vindice is to kill Piato the pander (who is... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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...the latter no longer in his Piato disguise. To Vindice’s surprise, Hippolito informs him that Lussurioso wants to meet him and offer him some “employment.” They agree Vindice should change his... (full context)
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Lussurioso enters and meets Vindice. Lussurioso asks Vindice what has “made thee so melancholy?” Vindice improvises,... (full context)
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Lussurioso asks Vindice if he is short of money and gives him some gold; Vindice feigns... (full context)
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Lussurioso wants Vindice to kill Piato. He dishonestly recounts how Piato tried to set him up... (full context)
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Vindice and Hippolito praise Lussurioso’s honorability, as Lussurio explains how he beat Piato up in anger at his actions. Vindice,... (full context)
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Lussurioso asks Vindice his name, which he then praises on account of it meaning “revenger.” Lussurioso... (full context)
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Vindice rails against Lussurioso, aghast at how anyone could be so “impudent and wicked.” He again appeals to the... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 4
Women and Misogyny Theme Icon
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...son, and if that man had convinced her to “work our sister [Castiza] to his [Lussurioso’s] lust?” Gratiana denies the charge, but Vindice reveals that he was that man—Piato. She kneels,... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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...the body to look like a man in a drunken stupor. Hippolito tells Vindice that Lussurioso will not come alone, and that therefore the best chance for revenge will come later;... (full context)
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Lussurioso enters, greeting Vindice and Hippolito. He instructs them to kill Piato. They ask for his... (full context)
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Lussurioso approaches the corpse, and suddenly realizes that it’s his father, the Duke. Lussurioso buys into... (full context)
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Lussurioso calls in his servants and asks them to “be witnesses of a strange spectacle.” In... (full context)
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Lussurioso summons the nobleman who had earlier said that the Duke was away from court, and... (full context)
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One of the nobles points out that, with the Duke’s death, Lussurioso is now ruler. Lussurioso pretends to be anguished by “griefs,” but in an aside remarks... (full context)
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...stage of their revenge, before leaving. Spurio, too, exits expressing his secret desire to kill Lussurioso. Supervacuo and Ambitioso briefly discuss a plan to kill Spurio, intending to use the costumes... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Revenge and Justice Theme Icon
...is that they all attend the “revels” dressed in masks and costumes before setting upon Lussurioso and his cohorts with their swords. He wants to strike them “in midst of all... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 3
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Lussurioso is crowned Duke, and celebratory music plays. He and three noblemen sit down to a... (full context)
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In an aside, Lussurioso states that he has banished the Duchess, and plans to kill Spurio, Supervacuo, and Ambitioso.... (full context)
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...accomplices enter, disguised in costumes for the masque. Suddenly they draw their swords and stab Lussurioso and the noblemen. Thunder sounds, leading Vindice to comment: “Dost know thy cue, thou big-voiced... (full context)
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As Lussurioso lies groaning on the floor, Ambitioso, Supervacuo, Spurio, and a “Fourth Man” enter, also dressed... (full context)
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...guards enter. Vindice and Hippolito seize the Fourth Man, alleging him to be the murderer. Lussurioso says it was the men in the masque that murdered them; Vindice and Hippolito have... (full context)
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Vindice leans into Lussurioso, who is nearly dead. He whispers to him that it was he, Vindice, who murdered... (full context)