Patrizia De Capitani

iambattista Della Porta (1535-1615) Author of Tragedies

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The neapolitan Giambattista Della Porta wrote fourteen comedies, two tragedies ("Il Georgio and l'Ulisse") and a tragicomedy ("La Penelope"). Della Porta, one of the most prolific italian dramatists of the second half of the xvith century, considered his dramatic production as less important than his scientific latin works about physiognomy and divination. The Inquisitors suggested Della Porta to write tragedies in order to deter him from his scientific activity which was considered as dangerous for christian orthodoxy. This article considers at first the role of theatre in Della Porta's biography. It emphasizes then that the peculiarity of his experience as author of tragedies lies in an eclecticism of inspiration inherited from «ferrarese» culture that he contacted through cardinal Luigi d'Este. Della Porta's tragedies show his approval of Counter Reformation ideology and spirituality and his refusal of pagan fatalism and pessimism in the name of a providential vision of human destiny. The neapolitan dramatist created a tragedy of familiar affections and deserved to woman, particularly to the maternal figure, an extant social and emotional role.

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