Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Macilente, disgusted by the injustices of society, flees to the country. As he lies idly under a tree he overhears a conversation between the wealthy young farmer, Sogliardo, and Carlo Buffone, a railing cynic whom the rustic bumpkin chooses as his guide in becoming a gentleman. Macilente winces at Sogliardo’s presumption and at Buffone’s callous instructions to the foolish Sogliardo. Buffone, seeing Macilente and knowing him to be a malcontent, hurries away with Sogliardo, but in departing he tells Macilente that they are going to Puntarvolo’s house.
Still musing under the tree, Macilente next listens while Sordido, a miserly farmer, consults his almanac and hopes for rainy weather in order that his hoarded grain might soar in value. A farmhand delivers to Sordido a note, an official order for him to bring his grain to market. Sordido scorns the order and swears that he will hide his surplus harvest.
In front of Puntarvolo’s house, Buffone and Sogliardo talk with the braggart courtier, Sir Fastidious Brisk. The three watch with amazement Puntarvolo’s return from the hunt. Puntarvolo, an old-fashioned fantastic knight, is given to extravagances in the form of little homecoming plays which he writes himself. Assuming the role of a strange knight, Puntarvolo approaches his house, inquires about the owner, and hears his virtues praised by his indulgent wife and her women. In another part of the play Puntarvolo woos his wife in the...
(The entire section is 1312 words.)
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