Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Widow’s house. Home to which Leantio, in the opening scene, brings his stolen Venetian bride, intending to hide the “treasure” of her beauty “under this plain roof.” In the first striking use of upper-and lower-stage dynamics, a window in this house displays Bianca to the duke, below, riding to St. Mark’s Temple. Soon afterward, Bianca despises both fidelity and the poverty of her mother-in-law’s house.
Lady Livia’s house. Home in a higher-class milieu, dominating the second and third acts, where both Bianca and her subplot counterpart, Isabella, are betrayed into sexual corruption by Livia. Here, in an even more dramatic counterpoint of upper-and lower-stage actions, Middleton has the duke rape Bianca in an alcove while, below them, Livia defeats the mother-in-law in a chess game that clearly parallels the sexual “game” upstairs. Here Livia also facilitates her brother’s incestuous affair with their niece, while simultaneously promoting Isabella’s loveless marriage to a lascivious idiot. Although fashionable, Livia’s home resembles a house of prostitution.
Duke’s court. Palatial and decadent setting for the play’s last two acts, in which luxury, lust, and treachery prove fatal for six sinners. In the final scene, a masque celebrating the duke’s marriage to Bianca ends in mass death, upheaving “the general peace of Florence.”