In the opening scene, Britannicus is seen wooing Junia, to whom he is betrothed. He is the rightful heir to the throne of Rome. The emperor having died, Nero, assisted by his scheming mother, is proclaimed emperor instead of Britannicus, who is informed by his friends that the throne has been usurped by his treacherous stepbrother. Britannicus, alarmed by these tidings, hastens to Rome to claim the throne, and is met by Nero, who cunningly offers to let the people decide. Nero is hailed by the people as their ruler to the disgust of Britannicus, who informs his betrothed of Nero's treachery, and enlists her influence to recover the throne. He entrusts this letter for delivery to a supposedly loyal friend named Narcissus, who, instead of delivering the message to Junia, hands it over to Nero. Narcissus returns to Britannicus, and makes him believe that Junia has spumed his love message and no longer cares for him. Britannicus, terrified by this second misfortune, can hardly believe his...
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