Plays Directory : Venice Preserved

The information below is intended to give you a brief guide to the show and highlight some of the other The Mandy Network members who have also been involved in this show.

  • Author
    Thomas Otway
  • Written
    1682
  • Setting
    Renaissance Italy
  • Overview
    The play concerns Jaffeir, a noble Venetian who has secretly married Belvidera, the daughter of a proud senator named Priuli, who has cut off her inheritance. Jaffeir is impoverished and is constantly rebuffed by Priuli. Jaffeir's friend Pierre, a foreign soldier, stokes Jaffeir's resentment and entices him into a plot against the Senate of Venice. Pierre's own reasons for plotting against the Senate revolve around a senator (a corrupt and foolish Antonio) paying for relations with Pierre's mistress, Aquillina. Despite Pierre's complaints, the Senate does nothing about it, explaining that Antonio has senatorial privilege. Pierre introduces Jaffeir to the conspirators, led by blood-thirsty Renault. To get their trust, he must put Belvidera in Renault's care as a hostage. In the night, Renault attempts to rape her, but she escapes to Jaffeir. Jaffeir then tells Belvidera about the plot against the Senate, and against her father. She devises a plan of her own. Jaffeir will reveal the conspiracy to the Senate and claim the lives of the conspirators as his reward. It is only after Belvidera informs him of the attempted rape that Jaffeir agrees to do this, but the Senate breaks its word and condemns all the conspirators to death. In remorse for betraying his friend and losing his honour (by betraying his oath to the conspirators), Jaffeir threatens to kill Belvidera, unless she can get a pardon for the conspirators. She does so, but the pardon arrives too late. Jaffeir visits Pierre at his execution. Pierre is crestfallen because he is sentenced to die a dishonourable death and not the death of a soldier. He forgives Jaffeir and whispers to him (unheard by the audience) to kill him honourably before he is executed. Jaffeir stabs his friend, Pierre, on the gallows, and as a form of atonement commits suicide. Belvidera then goes insane and dies.


    Otway was the toast of London after Venice Preserv'd, and yet the financial situation of the theater meant that he did not grow wealthy from his work. In 1692, Robert Gould (To Julian, Secretary of the Muses) wrote, "Otway, though very fat, starves." Venice Preserv'd has not survived to the 21st century as a byword for tragedy, but it was one of the best-known and most important of English tragedies for over 100 years.
  • Play
    Download the text for free from Project Gutenberg here: Venice Preserved

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Connected mandy members:

Kevin Golding
2019, Duke of Venice
The Swan Theatre
Sian Harris
Sian Harris
Costume Supervisor
2019, Costume Supervisor
Swan Theatre, Stratford upon Avon
Lucy Fowler
Lucy Fowler
Costume Designer
2019, Wardrobe Dresser
Swan Theatre
James Farrimond
James Farrimond
Stage Manager
2014, FOH/Steward
Emilio Doorgasingh
2014, Priuli
Emma Tugman
Emma Tugman
Actor
2005, First Lady & ensemble
Arcola Theatre
Markus von Lingen
2005, Theodore
Dan Horrigan
Dan Horrigan
Writer
2005, Assistant Director
The Arcola
Grahame Edwards
2005, Priuli
Arcloa Theatre
Andrew Fallaize
2005, Pierre
Arcola Theatre