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Commedia dell’Arte. Stock Characters from the 16 th Century. Pantalone. very rich, but mean and stingy. has a young wife or an adventurous, rebellious daughter. many plots revolve around his unwillingness to share his money and women with others.

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Commedia dell’Arte


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    1. Commedia dell’Arte Stock Characters from the 16th Century

    2. Pantalone very rich, but mean and stingy. has a young wife or an adventurous, rebellious daughter. many plots revolve around his unwillingness to share his money and women with others. he always carries a money bag which dangles between his legs. Pantalonemoves slowly and tends to hunch forward, his back bent with age. often falls on his back and cannot get up!

    3. Pantalone’s Appearance he wears red, black and grey. sometimes uses a cane.

    4. Il Capitano his name is Italian for “the captain”. he is a soldier who brags loudly of his brave deeds, but is actually very cowardly. moves with a great “swagger”, trying to impress women and intimidate other men. marches with chest out when feeling brave, but runs like a little girl when frightened. carries a long sword, which he always manages not to use. many plots show him to be a coward.

    5. Il Capitano’s Appearance wears a uniform of some sort, often with yellow trim to show his cowardice. often has a moustache under his very long nose.

    6. Il Dottore his name is Italian for “the doctor”. although he is supposed to be very wise and well-educated, he does not actually know how to cure any of his patients, often making them sicker instead. he has a large belly, and walks with tiny steps. carries a white handkerchief. like Pantalone, he is very old; they are often friends or rivals or both.

    7. Il Dottore’s Appearance wears black. has bushy eyebrows, and red cheeks from drinking too much alcohol.

    8. Arlecchino you might recognize him as the “Harlequin”. he is a servant, usually to Pantalone, who treats him very badly – often beating him with his own stick. moves in a loose and floppy manner, but is quite bent from carrying heavy things for his master, or out of fear of being beaten. carries a stick or a bat, often used against him. he is mischievous, but slow-thinking. Much humour comes from his dim-wittedness.

    9. Arlecchino’s Appearance dresses in vibrant colours, his signature diamond pattern originally came from his patched clothes. his mask is deep tan or red, suggesting someone who works a lot out of doors.

    10. Pedrolino he is a young servant, or – occasionally – the younger son of a family. he is similar to the French clown “Pierrot”. walks quickly, looking at the ground; is often surprised by what he has walked in to. tends to fidget and to create humour by imitating other, more powerful characters. very floppy and child-like in his mannerisms.

    11. Pedrolino’s Appearance wears all-white clothes that are too big for him. instead of a mask, sometimes wears white face paint.

    12. Isabella young daughter of Pantalone, usually involved in some kind of love triangle. her father wants her to marry one of his old, wealthy friends; she wants to marry someone young and attractive. along with her young lover, she is one of the “inamorata” (someone who is loved). Isabella is clever and flirtatious. she moves gracefully.

    13. Isabella’s Appearance always beautifully and fashionably dressed. no mask, but wears heavy make-up.

    14. Columbina she is a servant. as a lady’s maid to Isabella, she has a higher status than many of the other servants. the wife of Arlecchino; even though she scolds him, she loves him and is generally happy and playful. she moves quickly and nimbly. she is a cheerful and efficient servant. Columbinaoftens helps the lovers to outsmart those who would keep them apart.

    15. Columbina’s Appearance her costume often matches the colours and patterns of Arlecchino, her husband. wears an apron and either no mask, or a mask that covers only her eyes.