This sad, sad story of how a young father drowns his seriously deformed infant in the Tiber is flung forth with appropriate waves of torrential emotion. Silvana, the mother, somehow survives the shock of seeing little Marco--no limbs and grotesque appendages--and succumbs at last to a surge of mother love. And a considerate doctor attempts to convince the grieving father, Dario, that intelligence can overcome even the most dreadful physical handicaps. Dario, a computer programmer, takes a wild try at figuring the infant's chances of happiness (given intelligence and controlled environment) on the computer. But then it is discovered that the child has ""no brain"" and Dario, whose father once called him a coward for refusing to aid the old man in a suicide attempt, snatches Mario from the hospital and, standing by the river, receives the knowledge that ""this destroyed human being"" knew ""he could never emerge from his darkness."" In love he kills his son. At the last Dario is released from a charge of murder due to popular sentiment. A tragedy performed with all stops out.