Venetian High Renaissance
Women’s role in the literary scene of the Venetian High Renaissance greatly erupted in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Women eventually became the most educated citizens in the city and were referred to as, “honest courtesans.” (Pg. 624) Our textbook outlines how women, “dominated” the literary scene with their fierce ability to be, “both sexual and intellectual.” (Pg. 624) Although there were many great poets of the Venetian High Renaissance, I will limit this essay to analyzing the amazing poems of only four very influential poets of this time. I will discuss how Veronica Franco intelligently transforms courtly love into sexual metaphor. I will identify the missing elements of chivalry and courtly love in Ludovico Aristo’s “Orlando Furioso”, and I will compare Lucretia Marinellas views in “The Nobility and Excellence of Women” to those of Laura Cereta’s.
Veronica Franco, being chief among the courtesans, is the most impressive with her use of a rather satiric approach to transforming courtly love into bedroom banter. In her poem, “Terze Rime, Capitolo 13” she makes use of double entendre, which according to our textbook is, “a figure of speech in which a phrase can be understood in either of two ways.” (Pg. 624) In this poem she challenges her lover to a dual in a playful manner. She states, “No more words! To deed, to the battlefield, to arms!...Yours will be the choice of place or of arms…let it be your decision…Come here, and, full of most wicked desire, braced stiff for your sinister task, bring with daring hand a piercing blade.” (Pg. 624) She uses the language of chivalric knighthood
with talk of the sexual battlefield. Furthermore, when she talks about stripping her lover’s armor so his “naked breast… may reveal the valor it harbors within” she is roughly saying that within his heart lies courage in defense of a noble cause, another chivalric code for knights. Her use of words...
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