What Is the Plot of "Rigoletto"?


Quick Answer

Based on the play "Le roi s'amuse" by Victor Hugo, the opera "Rigoletto" follows the story of the hunchbacked jester Rigoletto, who, after helping the Duke of Mantua seduce a young girl, comes under the curse of the girl's father, Count Monterone. The character attempts to protect himself from the curse, but in the end loses his daughter to it when she dies trying to save the Duke from being assassinated.

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Full Answer

Rigoletto tries to keep his daughter Gilda secluded from men while simultaneously helping the Duke pick up women. The Duke, without Rigoletto's knowledge, sees Gilda, and the two fall in love. Meanwhile, noblemen who want to exact revenge on Rigoletto for numerous insults trick him into helping them abduct Gilda. He becomes aggrieved as a result, believing the curse fulfilled.

Rigoletto finds Gilda with the Duke and immediately employs a hitman named Sparafucile to kill him. He also shows Gilda evidence of the Duke's lechery with other women to convince her to leave him, but she remains in love with him. He then gives her men's clothes and tells her to wear them so they can both leave the city after the murder. However, Sparafucile accidentally kills Gilda instead of the Duke when she attempts to save him, thus fulfilling the curse on Rigoletto.

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