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concerning Masaniello

     Dumas' fictionalized account of a 1647 popular revolt in Spanish-ruled Naples. In Dumas' story, the city is impoverished by the exessive taxation of its Spanish ruler, the Duke of Arcos. Led by the fisherman Masaniello, the population revolts. The rebellion succeeds, and the Duke is beseiged in his castle. The Duke offers various concessions to the enraged populace while plotting Masaniello's assassination.
     The historical Masaniello called for the murder of the nobility, and was himself assassinated within ten days of his rebellion, which led to a short-lived Neapolitan republic, ultimately crushed by the Spanish.
     In Dumas' fiction, however, Masaniello struggles to control the violence of the revolution, the assassination attempts go awry, he marries the Duke of Arcos' daughter, rules wisely, and lives happily ever after.
     It seems likely that Dumas began writing a longer (and more tragic) work, but that he decided to truncate the novel and close out his story in a couple of pages.

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