“Cercando il mondo sotto nuova pelle”. Lucrezia e la fortuna (del tragicomico machiavelliano)
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The essay offers a new reading of the “masterwork of Renaissance drama”, “the perfect comedy”, namely Niccolò Machiavelli’s Mandragola, where the character of Lucretia emerges as the symbolic satirical double of the Prince, who can “bene usare la bestia e l’uomo” (“well use both beast and man”) (XVIII, 4). A dialogue between the Florentine writer’s comedy and his political works is outlined, in order to clarify the meaning of the metamorphosis experienced by the most “anti-canonical” person in the play, and to elucidate its disorienting denouement,which many scholars have termed enigmatic, ambiguous and puzzling. The ending does not resolve but underlines the antinomy between politics and morals, because we – like Machiavelli – cannot justify an act that may be both politically necessary and morally wrong. The study of dramatic writing is complemented by a review of the play’s fortunes when staged from the Renaissance to the present age, specifically dwelling on Guicciardini’s (1967), Missiroli’s (1983) and Chiti’s (2010) versions. Ugo Chiti’s recent staging (for Arca Azzurra Teatro), still unexplored by theatre scholars, stands out for its originality and neatness, as it paradigmatically developed both the dialogue between realism and symbolic suggestion and, on the other hand, the play’s folk and carnival components. A survey of both the text and the staging suggests a possible new and different reading of Machiavelli’s dramatic works.
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