A Letter from Veronica Franco

Veronica Franco: A Literary Light

Veronica Franco did not solely focus on her role of a courtesan in her writings, but also included fair warning to a mother in Venice of her desire to make her daughter a courtesan. Franco knew the reputation of her occupation and the damage it took on the lives of women. In a letter to a friend, Franco tries to convince a mother that by influencing her daughter to be a courtesan would not only be a burden on the girl, but her mother as well:

Although it’s mainly a question of your daughter’s well-being, I’m talking about you, as well, for her ruin cannot be separated from yours. And because you’re her mother, if she should become a prostitute, you’d become her go-between and deserve the harshest punishment, while her error wouldn’t perhaps be entirely inexcusable because it would have been caused by your wrongdoing.”

Franco warns the mother that if her daughter becomes a courtesan, she will also be burdened with the guilt and promiscuity of her daughter. The honesty of Veronica’s letter is powerful . The outright disgust with the woman’s desire to transform her daughter into a courtesan could be related to Franco’s own spite toward her mother.

Veronica has written this letter in hopes that her friend does not “slaughter in one stroke [her] soul and [her] reputation, along with [her] daughter’s.” Based upon the overall tone of distaste, Veronica implored the mother to reconsider allowing her daughter to become a courtesan. Franco demonstrates that the role she has taken as a courtesan is not accepted and cherished even by herself. Veronica Franco uses her letters to persuade a mother that the life of a courtesan is not to be taken lightly; it is filled with burdens and decisions that are detrimental to one’s happiness.

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