Movie: Dangerous Beauty
Screenwriter: Jeannine Dominy
Book: An Honest Courtesan by Margaret Rosenthal
Character: Veronica Franco (Catherine McCormack)
The script has been edited from its original form in order to make this beautiful monologue clearer. The original form of this speech is a dialogue in which many people are interrupting the main character. We have cut out their interruptions as much as possible.
“I confess as a girl I loved a man who would not marry me for want of a dowry. I confess I had a mother who taught me a different way of life. One I resisted at first but learned to embrace. I confess I became a courtesan. Traded yearning for power, welcomed many rather than be owned by one. I confess I embraced a whore’s freedom over a wife’s obedience. [Inquisitor: This is not repentance.] What am I to do? I must confess my evil as the church instructs. These are my sins. I confess I find more ecstasy in passion than in prayer. I confess I confess I pray still to feel the touch of my lover’s lips, his hands upon me, his arms enfolding me. Such surrender has been mine. I confess I hunger still to be filled and inflamed. To melt into the dream of us beyond this troubled place to where we are not even ourselves. To know that always, always this is mine. If this had not been mine, if I had lived another way a child to a husband’s whim my soul hardened from lack of touch and lack of love… I confess such endless days and nights would be punishment greater than any you could mete out. You, all of you, who hunger for what I give but cannot bear to see such power in a woman, you call God’s greatest gift, ourselves, our yearning, our need to love, you call it filth and sin and heresy. [Inquisitor: Enough. One last time before you are condemned: Do you repent or not?] I repent there was no other way open to me. I do not repent my life.”
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