Synopsis[ edit ] The Mandrake takes place over a hour period. The protagonist, Callimaco, desires to sleep with Lucrezia, the young and beautiful wife of an elderly fool, Nicia. Nicia above all else desires a son and heir, but still has none. Conspiring with both Ligurio, a rascally marriage broker, and a corrupt priest named Friar Timoteo, Callimaco masquerades as a doctor. He convinces Nicia to drug Lucrezia with mandrake , claiming it will increase her fertility.
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It was most likely penned down in Mostly viewed as a comedy, it has been interpreted in various ways by different analysts. It will be analysed as a comedy and as satire. Its representation of a Machiavellian world as well as of politics will be looked at as well.
La Mandragola has witty dialogues and serves to be a hilarious play with characters ranging from the docile Siro to the deceiving Callimaco. Callimaco as the protagonist finds Lucrezia sexually appealing. However, her husband, Nicia, stands in the way. He informs the audience of the life of people in a republic. The audience gets to know the problems that Lord Nicia has — he and his wife, Lucrezia have not been able to bear children as yet. The woman who approaches Brother Timothy the friar and the charlatan also represents another common citizen in Florence.
She still fantasizes about her dead husband, explicitly discussing it with Brother Timothy. The audience realises the prevalent corruption in the city. For instance, Brother Timothy is seen as being funded by the money people give for saying the Mass of the Dead. The audience realizes that he himself pockets the money.
Moreover, Machiavelli does not aim at any ruling figures in the play. All of the characters are like any common citizens of Florence, some elite, some not. However, the sense of corruption and deviance amongst them is laid bare. Analysts have extensively commented whether or not the play should simply be taken as a comedy and not as a didactic work. This seems to sum up how the Mandragola can be addressed from different perspectives. As an allegory and satire, the play can indeed be seen as a didactic work.
Brother Timothy is used by Machiavelli to achieve this effect. He convinces Lucrezia to sleep with another man only to be bribed by the men. This is symbolic. It shows that Machiavelli could be referring to Lucrezia as Florence in the play.
This shows the play can be a satirical allegory for the audience. Looking at the characters and the plot, the world in the play can arguably be considered as a Machiavellian world. Many of the themes and characters fit into this model. Hence, this analysis shall also be considered with the concept of the play as a comical satire in the background.
Under the influence of the Mandragola, we encounter a new variety of Machiavellianism, the Machiavellianism of daily life, the Machiavellianism of the daily household,.. It seems that it is desire that brings them all into action.
Every character in the play has a goal, and that goal is driven by desire. Callimaco follows his sexual desire for Lucrezia to arrive at Florence. His desire for her makes him bribe Brother Timothy, use Ligurio and fool Nicia to sleep with his wife. Ligurio, the parasitic character in the play, has the goal of becoming rich by serving the rich. He uses his keen observations about the elite to help them gain their desires. He helps Callimaco fool Nicia, even though the act of sleeping with his wife is adulterous.
However, immorality does not seem to be a burden for anyone in this play, something that will be looked at further. This desire even makes him allow another man to sleep with his wife. The death of a man for the purpose of having a male heir does not seem to disturb him. Brother Timothy justifies his desire for money. Lucrezia herself gets to know what she wants at the end of the play — and that is Callimaco as her lover.
The fact that everyone is driven by desire in the play makes the world a very material one, and in fact, a Machiavellian world. The materialism surrounding everyone in the play further embellishes it as satire — showing that Machiavelli wished to give a message. As explained above, desire brings all the characters into action. Nicia as well, is ready to kill a man to succeed in having a male heir. Lucrezia is willing to fool her husband into giving Callimaco a key to have him as her lover.
Everyone achieves their goals, through any means. In this play, those means are depicted as immoral, deceptive and ambitious. Machiavelli seems to show that a materialistic world will always comprise of these. This is because the play clearly shows Ligurio helping Callimaco achieve Lucrezia. The relationship between Callimaco and Ligurio is similar to the relationship between a leader and his advisor. Moreover, Ligurio does not have the same goal as Callimaco.
Their goals do not coincide which leads to a successful conspiracy. This shows that Machiavelli, through his play, is showing how important it is for the counselor to be cunning, and to have different motives from the leader.
On the other hand, Nicia is a learned man, a lawyer. However, his learning does not allow him to escape being fooled by Callimaco and Ligurio. Machiavelli seems to show that it is necessary to have deception and immorality to be a victor. None of the characters are explicitly seen to be acting morally, and yet all achieve their purpose.
This also highlights how Machiavelli did not deem human virtue to be important. The way Callimaco is drawn towards Lucrezia shows that Machiavelli believed in love as sexual desire. Their relationship is not driven by any soulful attraction — it is carnal desire. This is another element that makes the play one with multiple layers of meaning.
Theatre is a form that represents society, its members as well as issues in society. The playwright wields control over this form while writing a play. Machiavelli nonetheless exhibits his prowess as a dramatist and a satirist in The Mandrake.
As discussed above, the play has many elements that lend to its composition as a satire. Its mockery of religion and allegorical elements are noticeable. However, looking at the characters and their relationship in the play, it is also possible to see a Machiavellian world where the end justifies the means, where desire and deception lead the way.
Hence, The Mandrake is not simply a comedy. It uses comedy to appeal to the audience, leaving them with thoughts about their society and the political and material world that they live in. Related Papers.
MACHIAVELLI THE MANDRAKE PDF
Mazutaur Supposedly, the root resembles a fetus and when pulled from earth, the plant cries. He proposes they ride back to Rome for an unexpected visit to check on their wives. Lucretia submits to the rape, afraid of this disgrace. All of the characters are like any common citizens of Florence, some elite, some not. The Mandrake work by Machiavelli The mandrake, or mandrake root, or mandragola, or man-dragon, is a poisonous hallucinogenic plant of the nightshade family.