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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Enter Clorinda (2)

In Gerusalemme Liberata, the Sub-Saharan African (though white) she-warrior Clorinda was given an important role in the Muslim army after that she had popped up in Jerusalem just in time to save two innocent people who had been sentenced to death. Cf. the Book of Prophet Daniel, ch. 13, in a way.

In Gerusalemme Conquistata, Tasso deleted the whole episode: Clorinda is simply there from the beginning. Anyway the fact remains that the Muslim army, from this standpoint, looks more 'liberal' than the Christian army, where no female commanders appear.

Clorinda indeed is the only she-knight in the poem, whereas in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso women had more important roles. The main - not the only - heroines were Bradamante and Marfisa, on the Christian and Muslim side respectively. In Tasso's own Gerusalemme Liberata a certain Gildippe appeared, who joined the Crusade together with her husband Odoardo, but this episode also has been removed from Gerusalemme Conquistata.

As to the wording, several expressions here used by Tasso quote, or at least hint at Dante: "magnanimo sembiante," lofty countenance, "alto principio," high beginning, or principle, "a noi convene," it is up to us, or our duty, "fondar la spene," to ground hope.