A father decides to marry his young daughter to an old man. His daughter escapes from a convent, disguises herself as a young boy and becomes the handsome servant to the man she’s in love with. By happy fortune and mistaken identity, her brother comes to the rescue of his beleaguered sister. But not before a comic Renaissance exploration of gender identity, cross-dressing, and paternal assertions leaves the audience witnessing numerous deceptions and a stage full of deceived, from pedants and servants to tavern keepers and nursemaids.
While the action takes place in Modena, the real scene is Siena where the play was staged in 1531/1532. In the wake of the Sack of Rome of 1527, the Hapsburgs intervened in Siena’s factional disputes, installing a garrison of Spanish soldiers and initiating the end of Sienese independence.
In the shadow of this crisis, The Academy of the Intronati produced The Deceived (Gl’Ingannati) for the Sienese Carnival as an entertainment focusing on the intrigues of family, love, and fortune. Although seemingly apolitical, the play reflects on the character of the invaders and the effect of their presence on the lives of the citizens and their relationships. It mirrors the human condition and its priorities while creating a heroine — a type for Twelfth Night’s Viola — who proves to be one of the most imaginative and irrepressive female characters to appear on the stages of Italy, France, Spain, or England.
Although individual members of the Intronati have been suggested as possible authors, The Deceived was likely a collaborative effort, much in the spirit of its presentation.
Translated with an introduction and notes by Donald Beecher and Massimo Ciavolella.
Introduction, bibliography, plot summary, notes.
About the Author
The name "Intronati" signifies the "stunned," the "dazed" or "bewildered," and they styled themselves as an assembly of intellectual buffoons and clowns with funny names and inane activities. Their motto translates approximately as: "Pray, study, celebrate, do harm to no one, believe no one, and give no concern to the world."
While they concentrated on philosophy, music, love, games, and poetry, playwriting was a regular part of the Intronati's activities. Members were expected to contribute a play as the price for their admission into the academy. Yet only two plays are known to have been performed before "The Deceived," "I prigioni" (1529-30), and "Aurelia" (1531).
Although individual members, like Alessandro Piccolomini, have been suggested as possible authors, The Deceived was likely a collaborative effort much in the spirit of its presentation.
Donald Beecher is the Chancellor's Professor in the Department of English at Carleton University in Canada, where he specializes in the literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His research and teaching have taken him in many directions from the history of medicine to the cognitive sciences, with salient adventures along the way into Ben Jonson studies, early English prose fiction, tricksters, folklore, early music, Italian theatre, exploration and pharmacology, witchcraft, and the history of collecting.
With Massimo Ciavolella he has collaborated on nine projects, including "The Scruffy Scoundrels" by Annibal Caro and the theatrical masterpiece by the Intronati of Siena, "The Deceived," both for Italica Press. With Ciavolella he has also collaborated on the English and French editions of Ferrand's "Treatise on Lovesickness." Their future projects include a new translation of tales from Boccaccio's "Decameron" for Broadview Press
Massimo Ciavolella studied at the Universities of Bologna, Rome, and British Columbia, where he received his Ph.D. in Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Studies. He taught at Carleton University and at the University of Toronto before becoming Director of the UCLA Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. He was the co-founder and co-editor (1970-91) of "Quaderni d'italianistica," and he is currently co-editor of the Carleton Renaissance Plays in Translation Series and of the University of Toronto Press's Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library. In addition to many articles, he has written and co-edited several books.
Table of Contents
About the Translators v
- The Historical Times and Events Reflected in the Play ix
- The Intronati, Their Preoccupations and
- Cultural Activities xiii
- Authorship, Setting, and Plot Sources xviii
- Genre Interpretation: Deception and Representation xxviii
- Game Theory xxxiii
- Satire, Carnival, and Laughter xxxiv
- Sequels to The Deceived xli
- Lelia Types, Beloved, Admired, and Distrusted xlix
- Final Thoughts li
Select Bibliography liii
Plot Summary lvii
The Deceived 1
- Dramatis Personae & Prologue 3
- Act 1 13
- Act 2 51
- Act 3 91
- Act 4 129
- Act 5 169
- Notes 196