1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Drama/11a
The priority in this as in most of the other aspects of the Renaissance belongs to Italy. In ultimate achievement the Italian drama fell short of the fulness of the results obtained elsewhere—a surprising fact when it is The modern Italian drama. considered, not only that the Italian language had the vantage-ground of closest relationship to the Latin, but that the genius of the Italian people has at all times led it to love the drama. The cause is doubtless to be sought in the lack, noticeable in Italian national life during a long period, and more especially during the troubled days of division and strife coinciding with the rise and earlier promise of Italian dramatic literature, of those loftiest and most potent impulses of popular feeling to which a national drama owes so much of its strength. This deficiency was due partly to the peculiarities of the Italian character, partly to the political and ecclesiastical experiences which Italy was fated to undergo. The Italians were alike strangers to the enthusiasm of patriotism, which was as the breath in the nostrils of the English Elizabethan age, and to the religious devotion which identified Spain with the spirit of the Catholic revival. The clear-sightedness of the Italians had something to do with this, for they were too intelligent to believe in their tyrants, and too free from illusions to deliver up their minds to their priests. Finally, the chilling and enervating effects of a pressure of foreign domination, such as no Western people with a history and a civilization like those of Italy has ever experienced, contributed to paralyse for many generations the higher efforts of the dramatic art. No basis was permanently found for a really national tragedy; while literary comedy, after turning from the direct imitation of Latin models to a more popular form, lost itself in an abandoned immorality of tone and in reckless insolence of invective against particular classes of society. Though its productivity long continued, the poetic drama more and more concentrated its efforts upon subordinate or subsidiary species, artificial in origin and decorative in purpose, and surrendered its substance to the overpowering aids of music, dancing and spectacle. Only a single form of the Italian drama, improvised comedy, remained truly national; and this was of its nature dissociated from higher literary effort. The revival of Italian tragedy in later times is due partly to the imitation of French models, partly to the endeavour of a brilliant genius to infuse into his art the historical and political spirit. Comedy likewise attained to new growths of considerable significance, when it was sought to accommodate its popular forms to the representation of real life in a wider range, and again to render it more poetical in accordance with the tendencies of modern romanticism.
The regular Italian drama, in both its tragic and its comic branches, began with a reproduction, in the Latin language, of classical models—the first step, as it was to prove, towards the transformation of the medieval into the modern drama, and the birth of modern dramatic literature. But the process was both tentative and tedious, and must have died away but for the pomp and circumstance with which some of the patrons of the Renaissance at Florence, Rome and elsewhere surrounded these manifestations of a fashionable taste, and for the patriotic inspiration which from the first induced Italian writers to dramatize themes of national historic interest. Greek tragedy had been long forgotten, and one or two indications in the earlier part of the 16th century of Italian interest in the Greek drama, chiefly due to the printing presses, may be passed by. To the later middle ages classical tragedy meant Seneca, and even his plays remained unremembered till the study of them was revived by the Paduan judge Lovato de’ Lovati (Lupatus, d. 1309). Of the comedies of Plautus three-fifths were not rediscovered till 1429; and though Terence was much read in the schools, he found no dramatic imitators, pour le bon motif or otherwise, since Hrosvitha.
Thus the first medieval follower of Seneca, Albertino Mussato (1261-1330) may in a sense be called the father of modern dramatic literature. Born at Padua, to which city all his services were given, he in 1315 brought out his Eccerinis, a Latin tragedy very near to the confines of epic poetry, intended to warn the Paduans against the designs of Can Grande della Scala by the example of the tyrant Ezzelino. Other tragedies of much the same type followed during the ensuing century; such as L. da Fabiano’s De casu Caesenae (1377) a sort of chronicle history in Latin prose on Cardinal Albornoz’ capture of Caesena. Purely classical themes were treated in the Achilleis of A. de’ Loschi of Vicenza (d. 1441), formerly attributed to Mussato, several passages of which are taken verbally from Seneca; in the celebrated Progne of the Venetian Gregorio Cornaro, which is dated 1428-1429, and in later Latin productions included among the translations and imitations of Greek and Latin tragedies and comedies by Bishop Martirano (d. 1557), the friend of Pope Leo X., and the efforts of Pomponius Laetus and his followers, who, with the aid of Cardinal Raffaele Riario (1451-1521), sought to revive the ancient theatre, with all its classical associations, at Rome.
In this general movement Latin comedy had quickly followed suit, and, as just indicated, it is almost impossible, when we reach the height of the Italian Renaissance under the Medici at Florence and at Rome in particular, to review the progress of either species apart from that of the other. If we possessed the lost Philologia of Petrarch, of which, as of a juvenile work, he declared himself ashamed, this would be the earliest of extant humanistic comedies. As it is, this position is held by Paulus, a Latin comedy of life on the classic model, by the orthodox P. P. Vergerio (1370-1444); which was followed by many others.
Early in the 16th century, tragedy began to be written in the native tongue; but it retained from the first, and never wholly lost, the impress of its origin. Whatever the source of its subjects—which, though mostly of classical Italian tragedy in the 16th century. origin, were occasionally derived from native romance, or even due to invention—they were all treated with a predilection for the horrible, inspired by the example of Seneca, though no doubt encouraged by a perennial national taste. The chorus, stationary on the stage as in old Roman tragedy, was not reduced to a merely occasional appearance between the acts till the beginning of the 17th century, or ousted altogether from the tragic drama till the earlier half of the 18th. Thus the changes undergone by Italian tragedy were for a long series of generations chiefly confined to the form of versification and the choice of themes; nor was it, at all events till the last century of the course which it has hitherto run, more than the aftergrowth of an aftergrowth. The honour of having been the earliest tragedy in Italian seems to belong to A. da Pistoia’s Pamfila (1499), of which the subject was taken from Boccaccio, introduced by the ghost of Seneca, and marred in the taking. Carretto’s Sofonisba, which hardly rises above the art of a chronicle history, though provided with a chorus, followed in 1502. But the play usually associated with the beginning of Italian tragedy—that with which “th’ Italian scene first learned to glow”—was another Sofonisba, acted before Leo X. in 1515, and written in blank hendecasyllables instead of the ottava and terza rima of the earlier tragedians (retaining, however, the lyric measures of the chorus), by G. G. Trissino, who was employed as nuncio by that pope. Other tragedies of the former half of the 16th century, largely inspired by Trissino’s example, were the Rosmunda of Rucellai, a nephew of Lorenzo the Magnificent (1516); Martelli’s Tullia, Alamanni’s Antigone (1532); the Canace of Sperone Speroni, the envious Mopsus of Tasso, who, like Guarini, took Sperone’s elaborate style for his model; the
Orazia, the earliest dramatic treatment of this famous subject by the notorious Aretino (1549); and the nine tragedies of G. B. Giraldi (Cinthio) of Ferrara, among which L’Orbecche (1541) is accounted the best and the bloodiest. Cinthio, the author of those Hecatommithi to which Shakespeare was indebted for so many of his subjects, was (supposing him to have invented these) the first Italian who was the author of the fables of his own dramas; he introduced some novelties into dramatic construction, separating the prologue and probably also the epilogue from the action, and has by some been regarded as the inventor of the pastoral drama. But his style was arid. In the latter half of the 16th century may be mentioned the Didone and the Marianna of L. Dolce, the translator of Euripides and Seneca (1565); A. Leonico’s Il Soldato (1550); the Adriana (acted before 1561 or 1586) of L. Groto, which treats the story of Romeo and Juliet; Tasso’s Torrismondo (1587); the Tancredi of Asinari (1588); and the Merope of Torelli (1593), the last who employed the stationary chorus (coro fisso) on the Italian stage. Leonico’s Soldato is noticeable as supposed to have given rise to the tragedia cittadina, or domestic tragedy, of which there are few examples in the Italian drama, and De Velo’s Tamar (1586) as written in prose. Subjects of modern historical interest were in this period treated only in isolated instances.
The tragedians of the 17th century continued to pursue the beaten track, marked out already in the 16th by rigid prescription. In course of time, however, they sought by the introduction of musical airs to compromise with the Italian tragedy in the 17th and 18th centuries. danger with which their art was threatened of being (in Voltaire’s phrase) extinguished by the beautiful monster, the opera, now rapidly gaining ground in the country of its origin. (See Opera.) To Count P. Bonarelli (1589-1659), the author of Solimano, is on the other hand ascribed the first disuse of the chorus in Italian tragedy. The innovation of the use of rhyme attempted in the learned Pallavicino’s Erminigildo (1655), and defended by him in a discourse prefixed to the play, was unable to achieve a permanent success in Italy any more than in England; its chief representative was afterwards Martelli (d. 1727), whose rhymed Alexandrian verse (Martelliano), though on one occasion used in comedy by Goldoni, failed to commend itself to the popular taste. By the end of the 17th century Italian tragedy seemed destined to expire, and the great tragic actor Cotta had withdrawn in disgust at the apathy of the public towards the higher forms of the drama. The 18th century was, however, to witness a change, the beginnings of which are attributed to the institution of the Academy of the Arcadians at Rome (1690). The principal efforts of the new school of writers and critics were directed to the abolition of the chorus, and to a general increase of freedom in treatment. Maffei. Before long the marquis S. Maffei with his Merope (first printed 1713) achieved one of the most brilliant successes recorded in the history of dramatic literature. This play, which is devoid of any love-story, long continued to be considered the masterpiece of Italian tragedy; Voltaire, who declared it “worthy of the most glorious days of Athens,” adapted it for the French stage, and it inspired a celebrated production of the English drama. It was followed by a tragedy full of horrors, noticeable as having given rise to the first Italian dramatic parody; and by the highly esteemed productions of Metastasio. Granelli (d. 1769) and his contemporary Bettinelli. P. T. Metastasio (1698-1782), who had early begun his career as a dramatist by a strict adherence to the precepts of Aristotle, gained celebrity by his contributions to the operatic drama at Naples, Venice and Vienna (where he held office as poeta cesareo, whose function was to arrange the court entertainments). But his libretti have a poetic value of their own; and Voltaire pronounced much of him worthy of Corneille and of Racine, when at their best. The influence of Voltaire had now come to predominate over the Italian drama; and, in accordance with the spirit of the times, greater freedom prevailed in the choice of tragic themes. Thus the greatest of Italian tragic poets. Alfieri. Count V. Alfieri (1749-1803), found his path prepared for him. Alfieri’s grand and impassioned treatment of his subjects caused his faultiness of form, which he never altogether overcame, to be forgotten. His themes were partly classical; but the spirit of a love of freedom which his creations breathe was the herald of the national ideas of the future. Spurning the usages of French tragedy, his plays, which abound in soliloquies, owe part of their effect to an impassioned force of declamation, part to those “points” by which Italian acting seems pre-eminently capable of thrilling an audience. He has much besides the subjects of two of his dramas in common with Schiller, but his amazon-muse (as Schlegel called her) was not schooled into serenity, like the muse of the German poet. Among his numerous plays (21), Merope and Saul, and perhaps Mirra, are accounted his masterpieces.
The political colouring given by Alfieri to Italian tragedy reappears in the plays of U. Foscolo and A. Manzoni, both of whom are under the influence of the romantic school of modern literature; and to these names must be Tragedians since Alfieri. added those of S. Pellico and G. B. Niccolini (1785-1861), Paolo Giacometti (b. 1816) and others, whose dramas treat largely national themes familiar to all students of modern history and literature. In their hands Italian tragedy upon the whole adhered to its love of strong situations and passionate declamation. Since the successful efforts of G. Modena (1804-1861) renovated the tragic stage in Italy, the art of tragic acting long stood at a higher level in this than in almost any other European country; in Adelaide Ristori (Marchesa del Grillo) the tragic stage lost one of the greatest of modern actresses; and Ernesto Rossi (1827-1896) and Tommaso Salvini long remained rivals in the noblest forms of tragedy.
In comedy, the efforts of the scholars of the Italian Renaissance for a time went side by side with the progress of the popular entertainments noticed above. While the contrasti of the close of the 15th and of the 16th century were Italian comedy; popular forms. disputations between pairs of abstract or allegorical figures, in the frottola human types take the place of abstractions, and more than two characters appear. The farsa (a name used of a wide variety of entertainments) was still under medieval influences, and in this popular form Alione of Asti (soon after 1500) was specially productive. To these popular diversions a new literary as well as social significance was given by the Neapolitan court-poet Sannazaro (c. 1492); about the same time a capitano valoroso, Venturino of Pesara, first brought on the modern stage the capitano glorioso or spavente, the military braggart, who owed his origin both to Plautus and to the Spanish officers who abounded in the Italy of those days. The popular character-comedy, a relic of the ancient Atellanae, likewise took a new lease of life—and this in a double form. The improvised comedy (commedia a soggetto) was now as a rule performed by professional actors, members of a craft, and was Commedia dell’ arte. thence called the commedia dell’ arte, which is said to have been invented by Francesco (called Terenziano) Cherea, the favourite player of Leo X. Its scenes, still unwritten except in skeleton (scenario), were connected together by the ligatures or links (lazzi) of the arlecchino, the descendant of the ancient Roman sannio (whence our zany). Harlequin’s summit of glory was probably reached early in the 17th century, when he was ennobled in the person of Cecchino by the emperor Matthias; of Cecchino’s successors, Zaccagnino and Truffaldino, Masked comedy. we read that “they shut the door in Italy to good harlequins.” Distinct from this growth is that of the masked comedy, the action of which was chiefly carried on by certain typical figures in masks, speaking in local dialects, but which was not improvised, and indeed from the nature of the case hardly could have been. Its inventor was A. Beolco of Padua, who called himself Ruzzante (joker), and is memorable under that name as the first actor-playwright—a combination of extreme significance for the history of the modern stage. He published six comedies in various dialects, including the Greek of the day (1530). This was the masked comedy to which the Italians so tenaciously clung, and in which, as all their own and imitable by no other nation, they took so great a pride that even Goldoni was unable to overthrow it. Improvisation and burlesque, alike abominable to comedy proper, were inseparable from the species.
Meanwhile, the Latin imitations of Roman, varied by occasional translations of Greek, comedies early led to the production of Italian translations, several of which were performed at Ferrara in the last quarter of the 15th century, Early Italian regular comedy. whence they spread to Milan, Pavia and other towns of the north. Contemporaneously, imitations of Latin comedy made their appearance, for the most part in rhymed verse; most of them applying classical treatment to subjects derived from Boccaccio’s and other novelle, some still mere adaptations of ancient models. In these circumstances it is all but idle to assign the honour of having been “the first Italian comedy”—and thus the first comedy in modern dramatic literature—to any particular play. Boiardo’s Timone (before 1494), for which this distinction was frequently claimed, is to a large extent founded on a dialogue of Lucian’s; and, since some of its personages are abstractions, and Olympus is domesticated on an upper stage, it cannot be regarded as more than a transition from the moralities. A. Ricci’s I Tre Tiranni (before 1530) seems still to belong to the same transitional species. Among the earlier imitators of Latin comedy in the vernacular may be noted G. Visconti, one of the poets patronized by Ludovico il Moro at Milan; the Florentines G. B. Araldo, J. Nardi, the historian, and D. Gianotti. The step—very important had it been adopted consistently or with a view to consistency—of substituting prose for verse as the diction of comedy, is sometimes attributed to Ariosto; but, though his first two comedies were originally written in prose, the experiment was not new, nor did he persist in its adoption. Caretto’s I Sei Contenti dates from the end of the 15th century, and Publio Filippo’s Formicone, taken from Apuleius, followed quite early in the 16th. Machiavelli, as will be seen, wrote comedies both in prose and in verse.
But, whoever wrote the first Italian comedy, Ludovico Ariosto was the first master of the species. All but the first two of his comedies, belonging as they do to the field of commedia erudita, or scholarly comedy, are in blank verse, to which he gave a singular mobility by the dactylic ending of the line (sdrucciolo). Ariosto’s models were the masterpieces of the palliata, and his morals those of his age, which emulated those of the worst days of ancient Rome or Byzantium in looseness, and surpassed them in effrontery. He chose his subjects accordingly; but his dramatic genius displayed itself in the effective drawing of character, and more especially in the skilful management of complicated intrigues. Such, with an additional brilliancy of wit and lasciviousness of tone, are likewise the characteristics of Machiavelli’s famous prose comedy, the Mandragola (The Magic Draught); and at the height of their success, of the plays of P. Aretino, especially the prose Marescalco (1526-1527) whose name, it has been said, ought to be written in asterisks. It may be added that the plays of Ariosto and his followers were represented with magnificent scenery and settings. Other dramatists of the 16th century were B. Accolti, whose Virginia (prob. before 1513) treats the story from Boccaccio which reappears in All’s Well that Ends Well; G. Cecchi, F. d’Ambra, A. F. Grazzini, N. Secco or Secchi and L. Dolce—all writers of romantic comedy of intrigue in verse or prose.
During the same century the “pastoral drama” flourished in Italy. The origin of this peculiar species—which was the bucolic idyll in a dramatic form, and which freely lent itself to the introduction of both mythological The pastoral drama. and allegorical elements—was purely literary, and arose directly out of the classical studies and tastes of the Renaissance. It was very far removed from the genuine peasant plays which flourished in Venetia and Tuscany early in the 16th century. The earliest example of the artificial, but in some of its productions exquisite, growth in question was the renowned scholar A. Politian’s Orfeo (1472), which begins like an idyll and ends like a tragedy. Intended to be performed with music—for the pastoral drama is the parent of the opera—this beautiful work tells its story simply. N. da Correggio’s (1450-1508) Cefalo, or Aurora, and others followed, before in 1554 A. Beccari produced, as totally new of its kind, his Arcadian pastoral drama Il Sagrifizio, in which the comic element predominates. But an epoch in the history of the species is marked by the Aminta of Tasso (1573), in whose Arcadia is allegorically mirrored the Ferrara court. Adorned by choral lyrics of great beauty, it presents an allegorical treatment of a social and moral problem; and since the conception of the characters, all of whom think and speak of nothing but love, is artificial, the charm of the poem lies not in the interest of its action, but in the passion and sweetness of its sentiment. This work was the model of many others, and the pastoral drama reached its height of popularity in the famous Pastor fido (written before 1590) of G. B. Guarini, which, while founded on a tragic love-story, introduces into its complicated plot a comic element, partly with a satirical intention. It is one of those exceptional works which, by circumstance as well as by merit, have become the property of the world’s literature at large. Thus, both in Italian and in other literatures, the pastoral drama became a distinct species, characterized, like the great body of modern pastoral poetry in general, by a tendency either towards the artificial or towards the burlesque. Its artificiality affected the entire growth of Italian comedy, including the commedia dell’ arte, and impressed itself in an intensified form upon the opera. The foremost Italian masters of the last-named species, so far as it can claim to be included in the poetic drama, were A. Zeno (1668-1750) and P. Metastasio.
The comic dramatists of the 17th century are grouped as followers of the classical and of the romantic school, G. B. della Porta (q.v.) and G. A. Cicognini (whom Goldoni describes as full of whining pathos and commonplace Comedy in the 17th and 18th centuries. drollery, but as still possessing a great power to interest) being regarded as the leading representatives of the former. But neither of these largely intermixed groups of writers could, with all its fertility, prevail against the competition, on the one hand of the musical drama, and on the other of the popular farcical entertainments and those introduced in imitation of Spanish examples. Italian comedy had fallen into decay, when its reform was undertaken by the wonderful Goldoni. theatrical genius of C. Goldoni. One of the most fertile and rapid of playwrights (of his 150 comedies 16 were written and acted in a single year), he at the same time pursued definite aims as a dramatist. Disgusted with the conventional buffoonery, and ashamed of the rampant immorality of the Italian comic stage, he drew his characters from real life, whether of his native city (Venice) or of society at large, and sought to enforce virtuous and pathetic sentiments without neglecting the essential objects of his art. Happy and various in his choice of themes, and dipping deep into a popular life with which he had a genuine sympathy, he produced, besides comedies of general human character, plays on subjects drawn from literary biography or from fiction. Goldoni, whose style was considered defective by the purists whom Italy has at no time lacked, met with a severe critic and a temporarily successful Gozzi. rival in Count C. Gozzi (1722-1806), who sought to rescue the comic drama from its association with the actual life of the middle classes, and to infuse a new spirit into the figures of the old masked comedy by the invention of a new species. His themes were taken from Neapolitan and Oriental fairy tales, to which he accommodated some of the standing figures upon which Goldoni had made war. This attempt at mingling fancy and humour—occasionally of a directly satirical turn—was in harmony with the tendencies of the modern romantic school; and Gozzi’s efforts, which though successful found hardly any imitators in Italy, have a family resemblance to those of Tieck and of some more recent writers whose art wings its flight, through the windows, “over the hills and far away.”
During the latter part of the 18th and the early years of the 19th century comedy continued to follow the course marked out by its acknowledged master Goldoni, under the influence of the sentimental drama of France and other Comedians after Goldoni. countries. Abati Andrea Villi, the marquis Albergati Capacelli, Antonio Simone Sografi (1760-1825), Federici, and Pietro Napoli Signorelli (1731-1815), the historian of the drama, are mentioned among the writers of this school; to the 19th century belong Count Giraud, Marchisio (who took his subjects especially from commercial life), and Nota, a fertile writer, among whose plays are three treating the lives of poets. Of still more recent date are L. B. Bon and A. Brofferio. At the same time, the comedy of dialect to which the example of Goldoni had given sanction in Venice, flourished there as well as in the mutually remote spheres of Piedmont and Naples. Quite modern developments must remain unnoticed here; but the fact cannot be ignored that they signally illustrate the perennial vitality of the modern drama in the home of its beginnings. A new realistic style set fully in about the middle of the 18th century with P. Ferrari and A. Torelli; and though an historical reaction towards classical and medieval themes is associated with the names of P. Cossa and G. Giacosa, modernism reasserted itself through P. Bracco and other dramatists. It should be noted that the influence of great actors, more especially Ermete Novelli and Eleanora Duse, must be credited with a large share of the success with which the Italian stage has held its own even against the foreign influences to which it gave room. And it would seem as if even the paradoxical endeavour of the poet Gabrielle d’ Annunzio to lyricize the drama by ignoring action as its essence were a problem for the solution of which the stage can furnish unexpected conditions of its own. In any event, both Italian tragedy and Italian comedy have survived periods of a seemingly hopeless decline; and the fear has vanished that either the opera or the ballet might succeed in ousting from the national stage the legitimate forms of the national drama.
- The Χριστὀς πάσχων, an artificial Byzantine product, probably of the 11th century, glorifying the Virgin in Euripidean verse, was not known to the Western world till 1542.
- Of G. Manzini della Motta’s Latin tragedy on the fall of Antonio della Scala only a chorus remains. He died after 1389. Probably to the earlier half of the century belongs the Latin prose drama Columpnarium, the story of which, though it ends happily, resembles that of The Cenci. Later plays in Latin of the historic type are the extant Landivio de’ Nobili’s De captivitate Ducis Jacobi (the condottiere Jacopo Piccinino, d. 1464); C. Verardi’s Historia Baetica (the expulsion of the Moors from Granada) (1492), and the same author’s Ferdinandus (of Aragon) Servatus, which is called a tragi-comedy because it is neither tragic nor comic. The Florentine L. Dali’s Hiempsal (1441-1442) remains in MS. A few tragedies on sacred subjects were produced in Italy during the last quarter of the 15th century, and a little later. Such were the religious dramas written for his pupils by P. Domizio, on which Politian cast contempt; and the tragedies, following ancient models, of T. da Prato of Treviso, B. Campagna of Verona, De passione Redemptoris; and G. F. Conti, author of Theandrothanatos and numerous vanished plays.
- Imber aureus (Danae), &c.
- L. Bruni’s Poliscena (c. 1395); Sicco Polentone’s (1370-1463) jovial Lusus ebriorum s. De lege bibia; the papal secretary P. Candido Decembrio’s (1399-1477) non-extant Aphrodisia; L. B. Alberti’s Philodoxios (1424); Ugolino Pisani of Parma’s (d. before 1462) Philogenia and Confutatio coquinaria (a merry students’ play); the Fraudiphila of A. Tridentino, also of Parma, who died after 1470 and perhaps served Pius II.; Eneo Silvio de’ Piccolomini’s own verse comedy, Chrisis, likewise in MS., written in 1444; P. Domizio’s Lucinia, acted in the palace of Lorenzo de’ Medici in 1478, &c.
- Mondella, Isifile (1582); Fuligni, Bragadino (1589).
- Home, Douglas.
- Lazzaroni, Ulisse il giovane (1719).
- Didone abbandonata, Siroe, Semiramide, Artaserse, Demetris, &c.
- Cleopatra, Antigone, Octavia, Mirope, &c.
- e.g. Bruto I. and II.
- Filippo; Maria Stuarda.
- Pellico, Francesca da Rimini; Niccolini, Giovanni da Procida; Beatrice Cenci; Giacometti, Cola di Rienzi (Giacometti’s masterpiece was La Marte civile).
- Pyrogopolinices in the Miles Gloriosus.
- The masked characters, each of which spoke the dialect of the place he represented, were (according to Baretti) Pantalone, a Venetian merchant; Dottore, a Bolognese physician; Spaviento, a Neapolitan braggadocio; Pullicinella, a wag of Apulia; Giangurgulo and Coviello, clowns of Calabria; Gelfomino, a Roman beau; Brighella, a Ferrarese pimp; and Arlecchino, a blundering servant of Bergamo. Besides these and a few other such personages (of whom four at least appeared in each play), there were the Amorosos or Innamoratos, men or women (the latter not before 1560, up to which time actresses were unknown in Italy) with serious parts, and Smeraldina, Colombina, Spilletta, and other servettas or waiting-maids. All these spoke Tuscan or Roman, and wore no masks.
- La Lena; Il Negromante.
- La Cassaria; I Suppositi.
- Of Machiavelli’s other comedies, two are prose adaptations from Plautus and Terence, La Clizia (Casina) and Andria; of the two others, simply called Commedie, and in verse, his authorship seems doubtful.
- La Cortigiana, La Talanta, Il Ipocrito, Il Filosofo.
- Momolo Cortesan (Jerome the Accomplished Man); La Bottega del caffé, &c.
- La Vedova scaltra (The Cunning Widow); La Putta onorata (The Respectable Girl); La Buona Figlia; La B. Sposa; La B. Famiglia; La B. Madre (the last of which was unsuccessful; “goodness,” says Goldoni, “never displeases, but the public weary of every thing”), &c.; and Il Burbero benefico, called in its original French version Le Bourru bienfaisant.
- Molière; Terenzio; Tasso.
- Pamela; Pamela Maritata; Il Filosofo Inglese (Mr Spectator).
- L’ Amore delle tre melarancie (The Three Lemons); Il Corvo.
- Turandot; Zobeïde.
- L’ Amore delle tre m. (against Goldoni); L’ Angellino Belverde (The Small Green Bird), (against Helvetius, Rousseau and Voltaire).