« AnteriorContinuar »
Prologue, which precedes the first scene, will show that the author of Gľ Inganni did not adhere to Bandello by any means closely, and that he adopted entirely different names for his personages.
“ Anselmo, a Genoese merchant who traded to the Levant, having left his wife in Genoa great with child, had two children by her, one a boy called Fortunato, and the other & girl named Gineura. After he had borne for four years the desire of seeing his wife and family, he returned honie to them, and wishing to depart again, he took them with him; and when they were embarked on board the vessel, he dressed them both in short clothes for greater convenience, so that the girl looked like a boy. And on the voyage to Soria he was taken by Corsairs and carried into Natolia, where he remained in slavery for fourteen years. His children had a different fortune, for the boy was several times sold, but finally here in this city, which, on this occasion, shall be Na ples; and he now serves Dorotea, a courtesan, who lives there at that little door. The mother and Gineura, after various Accidents, were bought by M. Massimo Caraccioli, who lives where you see this door; but by the advice of the mother, who has been dead six years, Gineura has changed her name and caused herself to be called Ruberto; and, as her mother while living persuaded her, always gave herself out to be a boy, thinking in this way that she should be better able to preserve her chastity. Fortunato and Ruberto, by the inforination of their mother, know themselves to be brother and sister. M. Massimo has a son, whom they call Gostanzo, and a daughter named Portia. Gostanzo is in love with Dorotea, the courtesan to whom Fortunato is servant. Portia, his sister, is in love with Ruberto, notwithstanding she is a girl, because she has always been thought a man. Ruberto, the girl, not knowing how to satisfy the desires of Portia, who constantly importunes her, has sometimes at night conveyed her brother into the house in her place: he has got Portia with child, and she is now every hour expecting to be brought to bed. On the other hand, Ruberto, as a girl and in love with her young master Gostanzo, has double suffering—one from the passion which torments her, and the other from the fear lest the pregnancy of Portia should be discovered. Massimo, the father of Portia and Gostanzo, is aware of the condition of his daughter, and has sent to Genoa to inquire into the parentage of Ruberto, in order that if he find him ignoble, and unworthy to be the husband of his daughter, whom he believes to be with child by him, he may have him killed. But, by what I have heard, the father of the twins, who has escaped from the hands of the Turks, ought this day to be returned with the messenger, and I think that every thing will be accommodated.”
In this play, therefore, Portia, who is the Olivia of Shakespeare, is not stated to be a widow, and our great dramatist avoided the needless indelicacy of representing her to be with child. In Gľ Inganni, Gineura (i. e. Viola,) as will have been seen from the "Argument,” is not page to the man with
whom she is in love, but to Portia : while Gostanzo, whose affection Gineura is anxious to obtain, is brother to her mistress. This of course makes an important difference in the relative situations of the parties, because Gineura, disguised as Ruberto, is not employed to carry letters and messages between the characters who represent the Duke and Olivia. Gostanzo being in love with a courtesan, named Dorotea, in the first Act, Gincura endeavours to dissuade him from his lawless passion, in a manner that distantly, and only distantly, reminds us of Shakespeare. Ruberto (i. e. Gineura) tells Gostanzo to find some object worthy of his affection:
« Gostanzo. And where shall I find her?
for this carrion.
The resemblance between Gineura and her brother Fortnnato is so great, that Portia has mistaken the one for the other, and in the end, like Sebastian and Olivia, they are united; while Gostanzo, being cured of his passion for Dorotea, and grateful for the persevering and disinterested affection of Gineura, is married to her. Our great dramatist has given an actual, as well as an intellectual elevation to the whole subject, by the manner in which he has treated it; and has converted what may, in most respects, be considered a low comedy into a fine romantic drama.
So much for Gl Inganni, and it now remains to speak of Gľ Ingannati, a comedy to which, in relation to “ TwelfthNight," attention was first directed by the Rev. Joseph Hunter in his “ Disquisition on Shakespeare's Tempest,” p. 78. GP Ingannati follows Bandello's novel with more exactness than GD Inganni, though both change the names of the parties; and here we have the important feature that the heroine, called Lelia, (disguised as Fabio) is page to Flamminio, with whom she is in love, but who is in love with a lady named Isabella. Lelia, as in Shakespeare, is employed by Flamminio to forward his suit with Isabella. What succeeds is part
of the Dialogue between Lelia, in her male attire, and Flamminio:
“ Lelia. Do as I advise. Abandon Isabella, and love one who loves you in return. You may not find her as beautiful; but, tell me, is there nobody else whom you can love, and who loves you?
Flamminio. There was a young lady named Lelia, whom, I was a thousand times about to tell you, you are much like. She was thought the fairest, the cleverest, and the most courteous damsel of this country. I will show you her one of these days, for I formerly looked upon her with some regard. She was then rich and about the court, and I continued in love with her for nearly a year, during which time she showed me much favour. Afterwards she went to Mirandola, and it was my fate to fall in love with Isabella, who has been as cruel to me as Lelia was kind.
Lelia. Then you deserve the treatment you have received. Since you slighted her who loved you, you ought to be slighted in return by others. Flamminio. What do you say?
Lelia. If this poor girl were your first love, and still loves you more than ever, why did you abandon her for Isabella? I know not who could pardon that offence. Ah! signor Flamminio, you did her grievous wrong.
Flamminio. You are only a boy, Fabio, and know not the power of love. I tell you that I cannot help loving Isabella : I adore her, nor do I wish to think of any other woman.”
Elsewhere the resemblance between “Twelfth-Night” and Gľ Ingannati, in point of situation is quite as strong, but there the likeness ends, for in the dialogue we can trace no connexion between the two. The author of the Italian comedy has obviously founded himself entirely upon Bandello's novel, of which there might be some translation in the time of Shakespeare more nearly approaching the original, than the version which Rich published before our great dramatist visited the metropolis. Whether any such literal translation had or had not been made, Shakespeare may have gone to the Italian story, and Le Novelle di Bandello were very well known in England as early as about the middle of the sixteenth century. If Shakespeare had followed Rich we should probably have discovered some verbal trace of his obligation, as in the cases where he followed Painter's “ Palace of Pleasure,” or, still more strikingly, where he availed bimself of the works of Greene and Lodge. In Gl Ingannati we find nothing but incident in common with “ Twelfth-Night.” The vast inferiority of the former to the latter in language and sentiment may be seen in every page, in every line. The mistake of the brother for the sister, by Isabella, is the same in both, and it terminates in a somewhat similar manner, for the female attendant of the lady, meeting Fabricio (who is dressed, like his sister Lelia, in white) in the street, conducte him to her mistress, who receives him with open arms. Flamminio and Lelia are of course united at the end of the comedy.
The likeness between Gl Ingannati and "Twelfth-Night" is certainly in some points of the story, stronger than that between Gl Inganni and Shakespeare's drama; but to neither can we say, with any degree of certainty, that our great dra matist resorted, although he had perhaps read both, when he was considering the best mode of adapting to the stage the incidents of Bandello's novel. There is no hint, in any source yet discovered, for the smallest portion of the comic business of “Twelfth-Night.” In both the Italian dramas it is of the most homely and vulgar materials, by the intervention of empirics, braggarts, pedants, and servants, who deal in the coarsest jokes, and are guilty of the grossest buffoonery. Shakespeare shows his infinite superiority in each department: in the more serious portion of his drama he employed the incidents furnished by predecessors as the mere scaffolding for the erection of his own beautiful edifice; and for the comic scenes, combining so admirably with, and assisting so importantly in the progress of the main plot, he seems, as usual, to have drawn merely upon his own interminable re
It was an opinion, confidently stated by Coleridge in his lectures in 1818, that the passage in Act ii. sc. 4, beginning
"Too old, by heaven: let still the woman take
An elder than herself,” &c. had a direct application to the circumstances of his own marriage with Anne Hathaway, who was so much senior to the poet. Some of Shakespeare's biographers had previously enforced this notion, and others have since followed it up; but Coleridge took the opportunity of enlarging eloquently on the manner in which young poets have frequently connected themselves with women of very ordinary personal and mental attractions, the imagination supplying all deticiencies, clothing the object of affection with grace and beauty, and furnishing her with every accomplishment.
Orsino, Duke of Illyria.
Gentlemen attending on the Duke.
} Servants to Olivia.
OLIVIA, a rich Countess.
Lords, Priests, Sailors, Officers, Musicians, and Attend
SCENE, a City in Illyria; and the Sea-coast near it.