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Mandragola Paperback – February 1, 1981

ISBN-13: 978-0917974571 ISBN-10: 0917974573

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 57 pages
  • Publisher: Waveland Press Inc (February 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0917974573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0917974571
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

So you don't think Machiavelli had a sense of humor? Then go see the rolicking production of his comedy MANDRAGOLA at the Shakespeare Theater... MANDRAGOLA, adapted by Peter Maloney, is filled not only with Machiavelli's rather questionable wisdom, but with a surprising amount of wit... If comedy seems an unlikely metier for Machiavelli, the action of MANDRAGOLA is of the any-means-to-an-end variety... These days, when Machiavellian strategy is being taken all too seriously, it's refreshing to laugh at the old boy. --J. Wynn Rousuck, The Sun, Washington, DC

A naughty comedy by that great Italian Renaissance guy, Machiavelli...performed with great flair and precision...a very funny, bawdy play...a farce about lust, both physical and financial... A hilarious and lively visit to the streets and gutters of 16th century Florence. --Jane Horwitz, WTTG TV, Washington, DC

Machiavelli's realistic and unflattering opinion of human nature, expressed most notably in his classic The Prince, is given full voice here, but to obvious farcial effect. --American Theater

A naughty comedy by that great Italian Renaissance guy, Machiavelli...performed with great flair and precision...a very funny, bawdy play...a farce about lust, both physical and financial... A hilarious and lively visit to the streets and gutters of 16th century Florence. --Jane Horwitz, WTTG TV, Washington, DC

Machiavelli's realistic and unflattering opinion of human nature, expressed most notably in his classic The Prince, is given full voice here, but to obvious farcial effect. --American Theater --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, Italian (translation)

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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
Most people know Niccolo Machiavelli, author of "The Prince (Il Principe)", as the infamous apostle of power politics. But in his own day, Machiavelli was celebrated for his witty, sometimes satirical, plays. Perhaps the most entertaining of these--"Mandragola" (1518)--is available in this very readable edition.
The protagonist is Callimaco, a libidinous young man who sets about to seduce Lucretia, the enchanting wife of a wealthy merchant. Callimaco fortuitously learns that the merchant has tried desperately to father a child, but to no avail. The clever Callimaco thereupon disguises himself as a physician and in this guise examines Lucretia, finding her even more alluring than he has dreamt. He deftly diagnoses her condition and prescribes a curious concoction that he must produce from the root of the mandrake plant--thus "mandragola"--to cure Lucretia of her affliction. If Lucretia drinks this potion, he declares, she will most certain! ! ly conceive a child.
The gullible merchant is overjoyed, until he hears that the potion has one very severe side-effect: The first man to join with Lucretia carnally after she has partaken of the drink will die from the potion's effects! The merchant, Nicias, understands immediately: On no account must he be the first to sleep with his wife after she has taken the potion. He knows what he must do: He must find another. He explains the predicament to his wife, and she (reluctantly?) agrees to go along with her hustband's plan.
As the reader might have guessed, the "physician" Callimaco informs Nicias that he just happens to know a young man who might consent to this indecent proposal. This man is, of course, Callimaco himself, who reappears in yet another disguise.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By James Schoonmaker on May 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Machiavelli is best known for his treatises on political action, most notably Il Principe. Most readers don't realize he was also a playwright, however, and an accomplished one. Mandragola is one of his best plays.
One of the themes that runs through all of Machiavelli's works is the art of the crafty assault, and it is present here in spades. His greatest respect is for the man behind the puppet, and in this case it is Ligurio. The plot has already been outlined in a previous review, so it will not be discussed here, but the primary purpose of the plot is to develop the intricate artifice that Ligurio uses to help his friend Callimaco.
The translation here is great also. At some points the translation interferes with the meter, but this is rare; most of the play flows along very naturally. The language is clear and easy to read, and yet Flaumenhaft, the translator, captures the essence of such difficult words as virtu, animo, and remedio without losing any of their meaning. Alternate meanings are often given in the footnotes.
This is an excellent play, and the translation more than holds up its end. For those who appreciate the use of strategem, want a more thorough understanding of Machiavelli, or simply want to read a great play, this is a wonderful book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. W. Casey on July 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Most people think of Machiavelli as only a political thinker; but he was also an accomplished military tactician and playwright. The Mandragola is a classic Renaissance comedy; somewhat reminiscent of the works of Shakespeare or Marlowe, and the play, a farcical work involving love potions, and mistaken identity, and is quite funny even today.
Good reading for any drama student interested in the period.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. F. Rhoden on December 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In preparing myself for a class I shall be attending next semester on Niccolò Machiavelli, I stumbled upon this play by Machiavelli entitled Mandragola (or Mandrake, as in the herb, in English).

I had already read The Prince some years back, and have just started on Discourses on Livy. These two are, of course, the two one must read if one wants to have a decent sense of Machiavelli's contributions to political theory. However, since so much of his stuff can seem heavy at times, reading something more lighthearted by Machiavelli has been a lot of fun.

Mandragola is a comedy that takes place in Florence in the early sixteenth century. The characters are all humorous. The main character, Callimaco, is something of a rakehell, but a nice enough fellow. The play begins with him back at home in Florence after just finishing his studies in Paris. We learn that Callimaco has returned to Florence because of the reputation of one supposedly comely-looking girl, who is married to an older rich gentleman. Callimaco hatches a plan with his servant on how to turn the older husband into a cuckold. Essentially, this play is about Callimaco trying to get laid with some other man's wife. The comedy behind the play is in all the misadventures in which Callimaco and his team of licentious buddies involve themselves whilst accomplishing that goal.

More than a few good lines pop up in the dialogue, but my favorite scene is probably the last one, where, after the exciting deed has been done, everyone goes to church to make repentance--some more than others.

From a political theory perspective, Machiavelli's diction become important. Favorite words of his (like virtue, fortune, others...
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