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Plot - In nomine virtutis

Updated: 1 day ago

Close-up image of the torso of a nineteenth-century, bronze-colored suit of armor, finished with fine engravings on the chest.

Dramatic; historical | Papal States, 1825.

Main characters

Goffredo is the second son of the Duke of Marino Della Serpe, a very powerful nobleman. Goffredo lives his childhood sharing time with his older brother Arturo to whom he is very close. Goffredo and Arturo grow up in harmony thanks to the loving guidance of his mother Maria and wise mentor Giuseppe, far from the severity and cruelty surrounding the Duke. Goffredo has an aggressive, proud, fighter's character, while Arturo is poised, balanced, and very sensitive.

The call to adventure

When Goffredo turns fifteen, the Duke decides to separate the two brothers: the dukedom will belong to the eldest son, while the second son is to pursue an ecclesiastical career, moving away from home and going to study at the Vatican in Rome.

The conflict

Nothing can oppose the will of the Duke, not even his wife, who after a fierce quarrel with her spouse dies mysteriously. Goffredo is in despair over the loss of his mother and accuses his father, who drives him away by sending him against his will to Rome. Goffredo's soul is overwhelmed by feelings of hatred and revenge that include his father but also his brother, who did not oppose his father's decisions.

The key

Church life is determined by extremely harsh discipline. Over the years, Goffredo will meet allies, enemies, and lovers and will know how to turn his anger into determination. With cunning he will manage to climb the ecclesiastical hierarchy by putting himself forward for secret, risky and violent assignments. He will make himself available to do what others fear, becoming feared and respected. He will become the Pope's direct adviser, turning himself into the most powerful and dangerous personality in the Vatican. Finally, Goffredo will create the conditions to try his family and exile them into poverty, but it will be the Pope himself who will have him killed because he has become too powerful a figure.

Plot alternatives

The ingredients of this type of narrative presuppose a family history with measured inner conflicts that will only explode upon the removal of one of the members. Revenge will follow. The more the arc of the protagonist (the estranged family member) is made complex and enriched with subplots the more intriguing the story becomes. With these clear elements one can move the story in space and time: from Napoleonic France to the Rome of the Caesars, for example.


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