Scaramouche

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Scaramuccia in 1860

Scaramuccia, also known as Scaramouche, is a roguish clown character of the Italian commedia dell'arte who wears a black mask and, sometimes, glasses. He entertains the audience by his "grimaces and affected language". Salvator Rosa says that Coviello (like Scaramouche) is "sly, adroit, supple, and conceited". In Molière's The Bourgeois Gentleman, Coviello disguises his master as a Turk and pretends to speak Turkish. Both Scaramouche and Coviello can be clever or stupid—as the actor sees fit to portray him.

The name was that of a stock character in 17th-century Italian farce, Scaramuccia (literally "skirmish"), who, attired usually in a black Spanish dress, burlesquing a don, was beaten by Harlequin for his boasting and cowardice.

Scaramouche is one of the iconic characters in the Punch and Judy puppet shows (a performative art with roots in commedia dell'arte). In some scenarios, he is the owner of The Dog, another stock character. During performances, Punch frequently strikes Scaramouche, causing his head to come off his shoulders. Because of this, the term scaramouche has become associated with a class of puppets with extendable necks.

Scaramouche in popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stoppard, Tom 1991. ROUGH CROSSING and ON THE RAZZLE, 1st ed., Faber and Faber Ltd. p. 86.