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Conversation of Ruzante Returned from the Wars


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AT: Ruzante Returns from the Wars A: Ruzante Pf:c.1529, Padua Pb: 1551 Tr: 1958 G: Com. in 2 scenes; Italian prose S: A street in Venice, early 16th c. C: 3m, 1fAfter an absence of four months, Ruzante, a Paduan, returns from the wars to look for his wife Gnua in Venice, where she is said to keep disreputable company. Ruzante, despite being filthy and emaciated from the wars, is confident that his wife will return to him and that he will be able to fight off any rivals. She, however, is disgusted by his appearance and disappointed that he has come home empty-handed. Gnua's protector arrives, wordlessly beats up Ruzante and takes Gnua off with him. The badly shaken Ruzante swears that he was attacked by hundreds of assailants, pretends that he allowed himself to be defeated as a clever tactic, and then happily considers how funny it would have been to tie Gnua and her lover together and throw them in the canal.

AT: Ruzante Returns from the Wars A: Ruzante Pf:c.1529, Padua Pb: 1551 Tr: 1958 G: Com. in 2 scenes; Italian prose S: A street in Venice, early 16th c. C: 3m, 1f

Ruzante was the stage name adopted by Angelo Beolco in his role as actor, playwright, and organizer of festivities for the stone theatre of his patron, Alvise Cornaro of Padua. This short piece is generally accounted one of his best works. It does not have the complex plot of the commedia erudita, and the only action is provided by the thrashing of Ruzante. In this respect, Beolco's work anticipates the lively fun of the commedia dell'arte, and indeed Ruzante provides a link between the Braggart Soldier of Plautus and the Captain of the commedia. In addition to the knockabout humour, however, this piece also offers a distinctly moving confrontation between Ruzante, who has nothing to offer but his faithfulness, and his pragmatic wife, who now enjoys a better life with her Venetian protector.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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