1Machiavelli, La mandragola (The Mandrake) Act I1What information does the Prologue provide at the beginning of Act I? (Aside from being a conventional device of European drama, why do you suppose Machiavelli wrote it?)
2What do you suppose is the purpose of Scene One? (Why did Machiavelli write it?) Howdo Callimaco and Siro interact? What are their respective roles in the play and in Italian society? How are they dependent upon each other? What are the obstacles that prevent Callimaco from “being with Lucrezia”? Why doesn’t Callimaco lose hope? (What makes him hopeful?) Who will help him and how? According to Callimaco, what kind of person is Ligurio?
3What is the purpose of Scene Two? How is Messer Nicia portrayed in this scene? How does Ligurio treat him? Besides creating comic effect, why do you suppose Machiavelli wants to show us the way they interact?
4What is the purpose of Scene Three? How do Callimaco and Ligurio interact? Why do you suppose that Machiavelli wants to show us the way they interact? What does the Italian proverb mean: “Dio fa gli uomini, e’ [egli] si appaiano” (God makes men, and they, in turn, pair themselves [i.e. choose their mates])? How does Callimaco describe his condition (of being in love)? Whatdoes it reveal to us about Callimaco? How is it different than the condition of idealized courtly lovers seen in the love poetry of Frederick II and Giacomo da Lentini? Why do you suppose Machiavelli describes Callimaco’s condition in this manner? What will Ligurio and Callimaco try to make Messer Nicia believe?Is this plausible? Ms. BlanchardAct II1At the beginning of Act II Ligurio tells Messer Nicia “I believe that God has sent him [Callimaco] to us in order that you may fulfill your desire.” What is Messer Nicia’s desire? What is ironic about this attribution to God? What are some other ironic statements in this scene?