Phillip's Reviews > Mandragola

Mandragola by Niccolò Machiavelli
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's review
Nov 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: drama
Read in November, 2011

This is a really interesting play because it seems like remarkably little happens. The plot is quite short, and focuses mostly on one guy and his friend trying to trick this old man into letting the guy sleep with the old man's young attractive wife. Compared to modern plays or to something like Shakespeare, there is little action and comparatively little scheming. Things just seem to play directly out with no real major twists in the plot, which seems very odd to a modern reader used to suspense and reversals.
One useful context for understanding this play is the comedia dell'arte tradition. As I understand comedia dell'arte, one of the common storylines is the young man/men tricking the old man into letting him sleep with a young wife, and into giving up a large amount of money, which this play also features. I am not familiar enough with the comedia to really say whether it seems like Machiavelli is accurately and seriously using the form or whether he's satirizing it (the way many historians now suggest that The Prince is a satire).
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06/23 marked as: read

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