martes, 6 de abril de 2010

ORLANDO FURIOSO

The action of Orlando Furioso takes place against the background of the war between the Christian emperor Charlemagne and the Saracen King of Africa, Agramante, who has invaded Europe to avenge the death of his father Traiano. Agramante and his allies - who include Marsilio, the King of Spain, and the boastful warrior Rodomonte - besiege Charlemagne in Paris. Meanwhile Orlando, Charlemagne's most famous paladin, has been tempted to forget his duty to protect the emperor through his love for the pagan princess Angelica. At the beginning of the poem, Angelica escapes from the castle of the Bavarian Duke Namo, and Orlando sets off in pursuit. The two meet with various adventures until Angelica saves a wounded Saracen knight, Medoro, falls in love, and elopes with him to Cathay. When Orlando learns the truth, he goes mad with despair and rampages through Europe and Africa destroying everything in his path. The English knight Astolfo journeys to Ethiopia on the hippogriff to find a cure for Orlando's madness. He flies up to the moon (in Elijah's flaming chariot no less) where everything lost on earth is to be found, including Orlando's wits. He brings them back in a bottle and makes Orlando sniff them, thus restoring him to sanity. (At the same time Orlando falls out of love with Angelica, as the author explains that love is itself a form of insanity.) The siege of Paris is lifted and Orlando kills King Agramante. Another important plotline involves the love between the female Christian warrior Bradamante and the Saracen Ruggiero. They too have to endure many vicissitudes. Ruggiero is taken captive by the sorceress Alcina and has to be freed from her magic island. He also has to avoid the enchantments of his foster father, the wizard Atlante, who does not want him to fight. Finally, Ruggiero converts to Christianity and marries Bradamante. Rodomonte appears at the wedding feast and accuses him of being a traitor to the Saracen cause, and the poem ends with Ruggiero slaying Rodomonte in single combat. Ruggiero and Bradamante are the ancestors of the house of Este, Ariosto's patrons, whose genealogy he gives at length in Canto 3 of the poem.

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