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Archetypes of Commedia Dell’Arte in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” , Essay Example

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The Italian art from of Commedia dell’Arte contained a variety of recurring characters, or what may be termed archetypes, in so far as these characters can be said to represent stable figures symbolic of various aspects of human existence. In this regard, it certainly is no exaggeration to consider that Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream also employs archetypical characters similar if not wholly identical to those that one finds in Commedia dell’Arte.

Hence, the character of Puck in Shakespeare’s play functions as a jester or a trickster, can also be tied to the comedic clown figure of Pedrolino from Commedia delle’Arte. Whereas it could be argued that the Pedrolino archetype is in fact carries both dreamlike and sad traits, which are perhaps absent to Puck, the comedic function here between the two is the same. In this regard, however, Puck could also be contrasted with the witty character of Archelino, in so far as a cleverness is fundamental to both characters.

Oberon, as king in Shakespeare’s play, corresponds perhaps to Pantalone, a caricature of the Venetian merchant. Namely, both of these types of characters are imbued with a certain material power, and thus their roles are largely defined in relation other by their hegemony.

Titiana on the other hand represents the innocent female protagonist, or queen in Shakespeare’s work. The inamorata of Comedia dell’Arte can be tied to this figure, not only because of the particular female gender roles they symbolize, but because love is central to both: Titiana although through drugs falls in love, while it can be argued that the inamorata falls into love precisely because of seductions created by the counterpart male figure of the inamorato.

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