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Gli Innamorati [1], otherwise known as “the Lovers,” were stock characters within the theatre style known as commedia dell’arte, beginning in sixteenth-century Italy. These certain characters were present within commedia plays for the sole purpose of being in love with one another, and moreover, themselves. Despite facing many obstacles, the Lovers always end up being united by the play’s close[2]



The name Inammorati is Italian for Lovers.[3]

It is believed that the dramatists of the Italian Renaissance borrowed ideas from early Roman playwrights such as that of Plautus and Terrence, which they based the theatre form that they called commedia erudita on. In looking to extend the range of the comedy in commedia erudita, the Lovers were added, taken from the earlier play form that both Plautus and Terrence employed.[3] Even though this form of theatre contained a written script, commedia dell’arte came along as this form’s more modern structure.

Characteristics and Dramatic Function

The Lovers tend to be overly dramatic in whatever emotion they express. The separation from their lover gives them reason to strongly lament and moan their state, although when finally face to face, they are at a loss of words. In order to express what they truly want to say, they always need the help of a servant to act as a medium between the two of them. The Lovers always act very childlike and immature in nature. When not getting their way, they throw tantrums characteristic of that of a young child. They stomp their feet, pout, and even cry and whine if things do not go according to their wishes. Very selfish and self-centered, the Lovers are in their own worlds in which they themselves are the most important subjects. Along with loving themselves, they are in love with the very idea of love and what it pertains to.[3]

The main point of the Lovers within the play is to be in love, and in doing so, they come upon obstacles that keep them from pursuing their relationship. They always involve other commedia characters in order to try and figure out how they can be together, since they themselves are not intelligent enough to figure out how to be together on their own.[3]

Physical Appearance and Attributes

The Lovers are always young in age, possessing courteousness and gallantry, so much so that these certain aspects seem almost exaggerated in a way. They are very attractive, and elegant in their appearance overall.[4]

They always wear the most popular fashions of their time, but in much excess.[4] The women’s dresses were of the finest silks and they wear showy jewelry characteristic of Renaissance style.[5] The males wear soldier-like attire, while both sexes wear extravagant wigs and also change clothes numerous times throughout the length of the production.[3]

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