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Agnes de Castro; or, The Force of Generous Love

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Wikipedia article

'Agnes de Castro; or, The Force of Generous Love' (also known as 'The History of Agnes de Castro') (French: 'Agnes de Castro, Nouvelle Portugaise'), is a tragic novel written by Jean-Baptiste de Brilhac. An English translation by Aphra Behn was published in 1688. It dramatizes the life and murder of Ins de Castro, the lover and posthumously recognized wife of King Peter I of Portugal.


The novel focuses on Constantina, Princess of Portugal; Don Pedro, Prince of Portugal and Constantina's husband; and Agnes de Castro, who is Constantina's loving and loyal friend.

Pedro secretly adores Agnes, but Elvira (who is in love with Don Pedro herself) reveals this to Constantina. Meanwhile, Don Alvaro (the brother of Elvira) tries to secure Agnes's affections. Agnes tries to leave Coimbra, but Constantina and Pedro convince her to stay. Constantina, Pedro and Agnes try to preserve their friendship and love for each other, but struggle with their divided affections. Constantina dies of grief.

Alvaro, following King Alfonso's advice, kidnaps Agnes. After her death, Pedro takes his revenge by embarking on a war against his father.


Behn's translation was an inspiration for Catharine Trotter's tragedy of the same name, performed at the Theatre Royal in 1695 with great success.


Category:1688 novels

Category:English novels

Category:Novels by Aphra Behn

Category:Novels about nobility

Category:17th-century English novels

Category:Novels set in Portugal

Category:Novels set in the 14th century

Category:Cultural depictions of Ins de Castro

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