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Lucia di Lammermoor

the story

Characters and synopsis





Daughter of the Ashton family, a young woman in love with Edgardo Ravenswood, the son of her family's sworn rivals.



Lucia's brother and head of the Ashton family, determined to secure the family's fortunes by marrying his sister to a convenient suitor.

Raimondo 'Bide-the-Bent'


Lucia's tutor and mentor, a Calvinist minister who is sympathetic to her plight but loyal to Enrico and the Ashton family. 



The son of the dispossessed Ravenswood family, in love with Lucia.



Lucia's ill-fated bridegroom, a political ally of the Ashtons whom Lucia is manipulated into marrying.



Lucia's handmaiden and confidante.



Enrico's retainer, who helps in the plot to deceive Lucia.

Act One

Scene 1

The grounds of Ravenswood Castle, Scotland

In the grounds of Ravenswood Castle, guards loyal to the Ashton family are searching for an intruder. It turns out to be Lord Edgardo Ravenswood himself, last of the family who owned the castle and lands before the Ashtons usurped them. Edgardo has been living secretly in a ruined tower on the edge of the estate.


The Ashton family is now in financial and political trouble. Lord Enrico Ashton intends to restore their fortunes by marrying his sister Lucia to the wealthy and influential Lord Arturo Bucklaw. Raimondo Bide-the-Bent, a church minister and Lucia’s tutor, suggests that because of the shock of her mother’s recent death, Lucia would not be receptive to marriage. 


However, Normanno, leader of Enrico’s henchmen, tells him of his suspicion that Lucia has been meeting up with Edgardo at his hideout in the grounds. Enrico furiously declares that he will see his sister dead rather than married to the family’s sworn enemy.


Scene 2

By a fountain in the castle grounds

Lucia and Alisa wait at a fountain in the grounds of the castle, where Lucia has been meeting secretly with Edgardo. Lucia tells her handmaiden that she has heard a spooky legend about the fountain, that a Ravenswood once stabbed the woman he loved there. She is convinced that she has seen the woman’s ghost in its waters, which Alisa considers to be an ill omen. 


Edgardo arrives, and tells Lucia that he is being sent to France immediately on a diplomatic mission. Before he goes, he wants to speak to her brother, confess his love and secure her hand in marriage. Lucia is horrified - she returns his feelings, but knows that Enrico would never allow them to marry. She makes Edgardo promise to keep their relationship secret. They swear to be faithful to each other, and exchange rings before Edgardo hurriedly departs. 


Act Two

Scene 1

Enrico’s private office, Ravenswood Castle

It is some weeks since Edgardo left for France. Everything is now prepared for Lucia’s wedding to Lord Arturo Bucklaw, an alliance which Enrico tells her will secure the future of the entire family. Lucia has persisted in refusing to consent, saying that she has already given her promise to Edgardo - but her confidence is wavering, as she has not received any letters from him while he has been abroad. 


In fact, Enrico and Normanno have been intercepting Edgardo’s letters. Now Enrico hands Lucia a forged letter, in which Edgardo says he has fallen in love with someone else. Bide-the-Bent is not in on the plot, and believing the letter to be genuine, advises her to marry Arturo and save the family’s fortunes. Devastated by Edgardo’s apparent desertion of her, Lucia agrees.


Scene 2

The great hall, Ravenswood Castle

Crowds have gathered to celebrate the wedding of Lucia and Lord Arturo Bucklaw, and a fanfare announces the arrival of the bridegroom. Enrico tells Arturo, who knows nothing about the machinations against Lucia, that he is not to be surprised by his bride’s sorrowful looks - she is still in mourning for her mother. 


Lucia enters, distraught, and is pressured into signing her name to the marriage contract. Just as she has done so, there is a commotion and Edgardo bursts into the hall. When he finds Lucia already married to Arturo he is enraged.


Bide-the-Bent manages to stop Enrico and Edgardo fighting each other in the middle of the wedding feast, by showing Edgardo that Lucia consented to the marriage. Edgardo turns his fury on Lucia, returns her ring and flees from the castle. 

Act Three

Scene 1

The great hall, Ravenswood Castle

The wedding celebrations are continuing after the bride and groom have retired. The guests’ revelry is interrupted by Bide-the-Bent, who bursts into the hall to with appalling news - Lucia has lost her senses and stabbed Arturo to death in their bridal bed. 


Lucia appears, still clutching the bloodstained dagger, clearly insane. As the guests watch in horror, she acts out an imaginary wedding to Edgardo. Enrico is struck with remorse, and Lucia collapses. 


Scene 2

The Ravenswood graveyard

Edgardo has retreated to the castle graveyard, where he feels ready to join his ancestors in death now that Lucia has betrayed him. He hears sounds of lamenting coming from the castle, then learns that Lucia has killed her new husband in a fit of madness - and that far from abandoning him, she was driven mad through love for him. Horrified, he prepares to rush to her side. 


Bide-the-Bent comes to break the news that Lucia has died. In despair, and despite the protestations of Bide-the-Bent and the wedding guests, Edgardo drives a dagger through his own heart to join Lucia in death. 

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