Influence of Commedia dell’arte

Commedia dell;Arte has two major elements: improvisation and stock characters (Brockett 150). Stock characters were so important that usually one actor played the same role throughout his career. Commedia dell;Arte was created for the common people since most earlier Italian shows were put on for an aristocratic audience.
The characters of commedia dell;Arte were either straight or exaggerated roles (Brockett 150). The young lovers were like the pop culture in Italian theater. They dressed in the styles of the time, they were clever, and they were attractive (and not masked). They could illustrate how strange the other characters were. The male lover;s father rejected the son;s lover. The young woman had both old and young male lovers (Brockett 150). The character roles were usually master or servant.
The masters were usually ridiculous. There was the Capitano, who was an exaggerated character who bragged about his ample love abilities and fighting, but who was actually a coward and not so great in the sack. Pantalone was an old man, a merchant, who would pretend to be a young man and court the young ladies. Il Dottore was Pantalone;s friend. Il Dottore, the doctor, was an asshole to his family and a braggart about his knowledge.
The zanni (the servants) in the exaggerated characters were also very important. There was Harlequin, who was ;a mixture of cunning and stupidity; (Brockett 152), usually a dancer. Next came Brighella, Harlequin;s horny, asshole- yet witty friend. Scaramouche (by far my favorite of the names) who was sometimes like Harlequin and sometimes like Brighella, and Pulcinella (who played different roles- servant or merchant) who had a crooked nose and a hunchback and was a mix of different attributes. There were also some maid servants in the mix. The cast consisted of between ten and twelve actors.
Shakespeare is said to be hugely influenced by Commedia dell&…


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