"A viso scoperto" / unmasked faces
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In this study I undertake a comparison of two Italian plays of the primo Cinquecento, La Mandragola of Niccolò Machiavelli and the anonymous Venexiana. Although they are frequently mentioned in conjunction, no one has yet undertaken the task of comparing and contrasting these two important works which are so often linked together. I propose to rectify this situation with a comparative and contextual study of these two plays, arguably the most important and innovative dramatic works of the Italian Cinquecento. In order to offer a global look at the plays, I will include a discussion of possible sources and influences as well as a look at the historical context, all of which might well have influenced their creation. In so doing, it will be demonstrated that manipulation and plurality, on various levels, are the overarching “ties that bind”. Further, I will examine the element of spectacle as it applies to this time period and these two plays in particular.