Under the belief system that sponsors violence, there were some scenes in the movie that showed no ground on a transcendent being. That was when a preacher suddenly came out of nowhere and delivers sermons in sidewalks. We have learned that one of the sources and reasons for violence is having a wrong God or no God at all. The preacher believed that Venice could be saved if people repent, and this proved Gandhi’s philosophy that prayer is the core of life. Structural violence was also present when the people of Venice didn’t know whom to blame directly for the cause of the plague. This led to the blaming of the courtesans to be the source of the deadly contagious disease that was contaminating the entire Venice. The people and the government showed violence against the courtesans by brutally punishing them in public, accusing them of witchcraft and sorcery. However, on the other hand, Veronica Franco clearly presented an act of nonviolent resistance, effective enough to be a force that destroyed the evil system. It was during her trial when she spoke about the power of love as God’s gift being able to solve social problems of Venice, and the questioning of what profession they will give women in order to survive. She did not show any physical aggressiveness but instead, verbally assaulted those who were in the court. This convinced that their accusations of her were wrong. When Marco Venier asked the accomplices, or those who love Veronica, to stand up for her, he did not wish to make them feel disgraced, but to win support and understand the situation.
The ideology of capitalism was manifested in the kind of job that the courtesans do. In the commodification or alienation of labor, the product is more important than the laborer, and the labor has a price. Courtesans, as laborers, were getting paid with material things in exchange of men’s lusts and desires. They say all men dream of the temptress, but it is what the temptress does to them that they desire. Also, there were levels of courtesans at that time – those on the higher level were managed by a pimp and received lots of invitations from the richest and most powerful men in society, while those low class courtesans spend their time on streets and in brothels with low class men. Under forced labor, Karl Marx said that work should never be a means of living. However, Veronica’s mother, who was once a big time courtesan herself, taught her to become one in order to provide for their family. Although the mother stressed on the importance of education, sensuality, and grooming, they ran after the wealth that a courtesan could get once she satisfied her client. The Marxist critique of private property was that there’s no such thing as a private property, but during the period of the movie, which was the post-medieval times, women were treated as things owned.
During those times, they considered marriage as a profitable union, a state of perpetual inconsequence, a contract, and must only be a marriage for political reasons according to family’s will. This caused a ressentiment between those who cannot marry and those who can marry. The revenge of those who cannot marry was to seek an alternative to marriage, and that was to be a courtesan. It was their option for survival since they cannot wed. On the other hand, the ordinary wives against the courtesans showed anger by repressed envy. In the scene where there was a meeting between the wives and Veronica, the other women were obviously insecure of the fact that their husbands spend more time with the courtesan, and that Veronica knew better about the men. The idea of the courtesans being the most educated women in the world and can spend time in the library also alleviated not only the envy of women but some men as well. There was also an ideology of ressentiment between the state and the church, which was demonstrated during the inquisition. Marco, as a senator of Venice, was not allowed to complain throughout the trial just because it was an ecclesiastical court. In the end, the greater ressentiment in the movie was that of the courtesan’s freedom and the wife’s obedience.
There was a scene in the movie wherein Veronica used her charms to help convince the king of France to lend some ships. At that time, Venice needed the French navy to help fight off the Turks, and King Henry was so pleased by her efforts that he immediately allowed the alliance. She successfully had a one-night stand with the French King, which saved Venice. This was an example of how evil systems support each other. Through a courtesan, the course of history and the government could change. In these times, the social machinery actually endorses prostitution as an attractive career choice for women and a ladder to reach different societies as well. The courtesans or prostitutes during these times were often highly educated, like Veronica being into literature and poetry, and could perhaps infiltrate the male-dominated politics. It was clearly observed during her trial when she used her feminine side to reveal the gender prejudice, ignorance, and hypocrisy of the people and government.
The movie just pointed out that at that time, women had so little options in life. Though they can wed, money and position were the important things to get a good marriage. But Veronica illustrated in the movie that love is the capital virtue and altruism is needed in a marriage.