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Aminta


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AT: Amyntas; The Countess of Pembroke's Ivychurch A: Torquato Tasso Pf: 1573, Belvedere Island on the River Po Pb: 1581 Tr: 1591 G: Pastoral in 5 acts; Italian verse S: Timeless pastoral landscape C: 7m, 2f, chorus (m)Aminta, a shepherd, has fallen in love with the disdainful Silvia, who is more interested in hunting than love and spurns Aminta, despite the urgings of her friend Dafne. Aminta's friend Tirsi advises him to seek out Silvia at the spring. Before he arrives, Silvia is surprised by a satyr, who strips her naked. Aminta chases him off, and Silvia flees in shame. Silvia's veil covered in blood is discovered near a pack of ravening wolves. Convinced that she is dead, Aminta prepares to plunge over a cliff. Silvia reappears and, seeing Aminta's lifeless body, regrets her treatment of him. Fortunately, he has been saved by a bush and has survived his fall. The play ends with their marriage.

AT: Amyntas; The Countess of Pembroke's Ivychurch A: Torquato Tasso Pf: 1573, Belvedere Island on the River Po Pb: 1581 Tr: 1591 G: Pastoral in 5 acts; Italian verse S: Timeless pastoral landscape C: 7m, 2f, chorus (m)

Tasso, the court poet of Ferrara, is best known as a poet but wrote three plays, a comedy, a tragedy (King Torrismondo (1586), with echoes of Oedipus the King) and this pastoral play, the first and most famous example of the genre. There is no action in the piece, since all the events are reported. Everything depends on the exquisite lyrical verse, which tells of Aminta's love and despair, of the violent unfulfilled lust of the satyr, and of Silvia's change of heart, which she imagines to be too late. The pastoral play became widely imitated across Europe (e.g. Guarini's The Faithful Shepherd, Milton's Comus, Goethe's The Lover's Whim, 1779). Pastoral elements are also in evidence in Shakespeare's As You Like It, and the mistaken belief that the beloved has died on finding a bloodstained cloth occurs in the Pyramus and Thisbe episode in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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Torquato Tasso (1544—1595) Italian poet


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