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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Enter Clorinda (4)

East Side Story

The paradoxical love story between Tancred and Clorinda is a key element both in Gerusalemme Liberata and in Gerusalemme Conquistata.

"Paradoxical," first of all, because it is an 'impossible' love, as it often happens. Exactly in the same years in which William Shakespeare writes Romeo and Juliet (or has it written), Torquato Tasso shows us the Italian Crusader Tancred falling desperately in love with the Muslim warrior Clorinda. Not only do they belong to different religions, but they are actually fighting against each other. The same situation, but with inverted roles, had been described by Ariosto in Orlando Furioso, i.e. the - happier - affair between Bradamante and Ruggiero.

Even more paradoxical [WARNING: SPOILER] is the fact that Clorinda, though learning about Tancred's love during the very episode we're reading, won't care at all about it, BUT she will remember and return his love after her death!

Meanwhile, Clorinda has discovered that her parents were Christians, but she has been grown up as a Muslim because, when she was a little baby, she had to flee abroad together with her tutor, who was a Muslim. What to do now? Remain in her current, 'personal' faith, or go back to her 'original' religion?