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Monna Vanna

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#1
intellectualammo

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Ayn Rand called this play, "...one of the greatest plays in all of world literature."

When Monna Vanna was on sale at the Ayn Rand bookstore, I bought it, and I certainly agree with her, though, mind you, I really haven't read many plays before.

I was wondering if any of you have read this? If you haven't I absolutely recommend it.

If you have read it, maybe you could say what you think of the characters of, Vanna, Prinzivalle, Guido...their actions, and so forth.

Edited by intellectualammo, 29 January 2006 - 02:36 AM.

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#2
intellectualammo

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Okay, well since no one has replied, I will let everyone here know more about this play, but in telling it there may be a few spoilers, but not major ones.

Vanna is the wife of Guido Colonna, who is the Commander of the garrison of Pisa. Pisa and Florence are at war, and it is Prinzivalle, who has been “painted” as a barbarian, a brute, who is the Captain from Florence that is to initiate the attack on Pisa. Prinzivalle has delayed orders from Florence to attack Pisa, for he has been in love with Vanna, Guido’s wife, since he met her when they were just children. Prinzivalle was in Pisa long ago, but due to certain circumstances explained in the play, he really doesn‘t see her for years. But his love remained throughout the years as the play progresses, (I don’t want to put too many spoilers in it). Basically it all comes down to this….Prinzivalle wants one night with Vanna, and in exchange he will provide wagons upon wagons of foodstuffs, gun powder, cattle, etc. and send his own troops to Pisa’s aid against Florence, and send Vanna back come morning. Guido treats Vanna more as a posession, his love for Vanna is not like the spiritual love that Prinzivalle has for her. With sub conflicts, and plot twists, and two characters to more closely examine(still am)…I had to read it twice. I’m not sure if this has sparked anyone’s interest, but I definitely will read it again, recommend it to the board, and agree with what Ayn Rand had to say about this play.

My favorite character right now is Prinzivalle. It really is hard to start a discussion, or say more of what I think of a play that no one here may have yet read without spoiling it for those that haven‘t, so maybe later on someone may dig this out of the topics, and help it to grow into a longer thread.

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." 
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#3
AMERICONORMAN

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I read it and I recommend it. It was lovely. But I only read it once. I have been planning on reading it again.

Really no great actions occur but yet it is very exciting and filled with conflict. Though I can't recall the words of Monna Vanna's speech, I remember that it was so moving and intense.

I can't even recall if it ends tragically or not.

I read it as part of going through Peikoff's course, Eight Great Plays, which I strongly recommend. It presents an approach to studying literature that all Objectivists should become familiar with.

Jose Gainza.
"Roark felt the wrench he had tried so often to fight ... what should have been possible and was closed to him ... Then, without reason, he thought of Dominique Francon. She had no relation to the things in his mind; he was shocked only to know that she could remain present even among these things." (The Fountainhead, pg. 222).

"... But his hands betrayed what he wanted to hide. His hands reached out, ran slowly down the beams and joints. The workers in the house had noticed it. They said: 'that guy's in love with the thing. He can't keep his hands off." (The Fountainhead, pg. 130).


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#4
KittyHawk

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I've read it a couple of times, also. You have to sympathize with Guido's dilemma, which is horrible. It is reminiscent of the situation between Kira, Leo, and Andrei Taganov in We the Living. Leo didn't take that very well, either. I believe Red Pawn also had a similar conflict.

Maurice Maeterlinck, the author, wrote quite a few plays. I have 18 of them, I'm not sure if that is all he wrote or not. The only other one I've read so far is called Joyzelle, which is also an excellent drama. Another one is called The Blue Bird, which was made into a movie.

#5
KittyHawk

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Pisa and Florence are at war, and it is Prinzivalle, who has been “painted” as a barbarian, a brute, who is the Captain from Florence that is to initiate the attack on Pisa.


I'm not sure if you meant Prinzivalle was actually a native Florentine, or just sent by Florence. He is in fact a condottiere, a professional military officer who leads a force of mercenaries, in this case hired out to the Florentines. Prinzivalle met Vanna in Venice as a child, where his father was a goldsmith, so presumably he was a Venetian.

#6
intellectualammo

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I'm not sure if you meant Prinzivalle was actually a native Florentine, or just sent by Florence.


Sent by Florence.
I guess the way that I had written it using the word "from" should have been written differently. Thank you. He was definately not from Florence, but from a Florence army rather.


Yes, he fell in love with Vanna when the two were just children in Venice. I think that the main reason why Prinzivalle is my favorite, because he, according to what I gather from the play, never settled for anyone, but for Vanna. Now, she, mostly because of the situation she was in at the time, did settle for what we could call a "substitute" in a way, as in almost the sense Ayn Rand spoke of as "substitutes" and that person was Guido.
I love what Prinzivalle has to say to Vanna here:

"Had there come ten thousand of you into my tent, all clad alike, all equally fair, ten thousand sisters whom even their mothers would not know apart, I should have risen, should have taken your hand, and said, 'This is she!' Is it not strange that a beloved image so in mine that each day it changed as in real life- the image of to-day replaced that of yesterday- it blossomed out, it became always fairer; and the years adorned it with all that they add to a child that grows in grace and beauty."(p.60)

She has this to say about Guido...(italic emphasis is support for "substitute"):

"When Guido took me as his wife, I was alone and poor, and a woman in such a state- above all, if she is beautiful and cannot stoop to easy lies- becomes the prey of a thousand calumnies. But Guido cared not- he had faith in me, and his faith pleased my heart. He has made me happy- as happy as one may be that has renounced the dreams a little wild that seem not made for our life here below. And you, too, will see- I can almost say I hope it- that a man may be happy without passing all his days in waiting for a joy such as none has ever known...I love Guido with a love less wonderful, it may be, than that which you have thought to have, but more equal, constant, and sure."(p.61)

So did you have a favorite character in the play??

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#7
intellectualammo

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You have to sympathize with Guido's dilemma, which is horrible. It is reminiscent of the situation between Kira, Leo, and Andrei Taganov in We the Living. Leo didn't take that very well, either.


Sorry, but what didn't Leo take well? I'm not exactly sure what you are referring to here.

Speaking of We The Living, I would still value a Kira higher than I do a Vanna, and I would also value a Prinzivalle higher than a Leo.

I haven't read anything by the author other than the said play, thanks for the information. I'm interested in other plays of his. I just got The Blue Bird, that you had mentioned, but I'm reading other material, as of now.

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." 
- Cyril Connolly
 
My seven published books can be found here: Amazon Author Page
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"Portrait of Steven L. Sheppard", a drawing by Robert C. Tracy
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#8
KittyHawk

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Sorry, but what didn't Leo take well? I'm not exactly sure what you are referring to here.


When Leo found out that Kira had been Andrei Taganov's lover, he felt betrayed and gave up on his life and values completely. Kira never did explain to him that she had only done it for his sake (although she did love Andrei, too). I'm not sure why, perhaps because she did not think Leo would believe her. This is not exactly the same situation as Guido-Vanna-Prinzivalle, of course, but there are certainly points of similarity.

Speaking of We The Living, I would still value a Kira higher than I do a Vanna, and I would also value a Prinzivalle higher than a Leo.

I agree on both points.

I haven't read anything by the author other than the said play, thanks for the information. I'm interested in other plays of his. I just got The Blue Bird, that you had mentioned, but I'm reading other material, as of now.


I haven't read Blue Bird, but I'm pretty sure that one is meant mostly for children, at least the movie was.

#9
KittyHawk

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So did you have a favorite character in the play??


I really need to reread the play, it's been quite a while. Prinzivalle and Monna Vanna were both admirable characters. The father of Guido was also important.

But having also read Joyzelle, I definitely like Maeterlinck's ability to dramatize value conflicts. In that way, he is similar to Victor Hugo. I'd recommend Hugo's plays, as well, not just his novels. He wrote 13 plays that I know of. What an era of playwriting, from Hugo to Rostand to Maeterlinck. Ibsen falls in there somewhere as well, but I actually haven't read any of his plays yet.

#10
intellectualammo

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When Leo found out that Kira had been Andrei Taganov's lover, he felt betrayed and gave up on his life and values completely.


Actually, Leo didn't do that, because of what he had found out about Kira and Andrei. He actually did that before he had even found out (from a friend, Pavel Syerov) about Kira and Andrei. He used it, to spare him from having to face Kira and tell her that he was going with Tonia, which he agreed to "three days ago" which was, in the novel, prior to his knowledge about Kira and Andrei. I will however agree that he did feel betrayed, when he found out, you can gather that from his interaction with Kira, but I would have to disagree with you that that was also when he had given up fully. He gave up prior to finding out. (scene is on p. 422-5) Kira was always his "last hold on self-esteem", but he gave up before the knowledge of Kira and Andrei.

Kira never did explain to him that she had only done it for his sake (although she did love Andrei, too). I'm not sure why, perhaps because she did not think Leo would believe her.


No, you're right, she didn't and, I may add, she didn't have to explain, because of this essential question she asked him:

"Leo... please listen carefully... it's very important... please do me a last favor and answer this one question honestly, to the best of your knowledge: if you were to learn suddenly—it doesn't matter how—but if you were to learn that I love you, that I've always loved you, that I've been loyal to you all these years—would you still go with her?"
"Yes."
(p.425)

I don't think she loved Andrei, as you had said in the above quote. The only time I remember her saying that she loved him, was when she lied to him about loving him, to be able to keep him around after he avoided her (because he loved her), so she could try to get money for Leo's betterment. Andrei was the last resort, and he was the one who had to paraphrase...more money than he could ever spend on himself. (scene starts on p.384)

This is not exactly the same situation as Guido-Vanna-Prinzivalle, of course, but there are certainly points of similarity.


Okay, some. I see Prinzivalle, as a Kira type, and I see Vanna with a touch of a Leo type, and Guido with a touch of an Andrei type.



Prinzivalle and Monna Vanna were both admirable characters. The father of Guido was also important.


Correct, he knew Vanna better than Guido did. He knew exactly what her answer would be to Prinzivalle's proposal as well, and Guido didn't. Marco, Guido's father, he actually translated Plato's three dialogues, and when he went to the camp to apologize for a death to Prinzivalle, Prinzivalle had read them and they talked of it. I think people have mistakenly labeled Prinzivalle as a Platonist (online), it was Marsiglio Ficino who was "the very soul of Plato born again on earth..." as Marco said of one other person in his tent. Have you heard anyone call Prinzivalle a Platonist? I just can't find anything that supports that. Just because he read the works, doesn't mean he is one.

Hey, thank you so much for all your replies so far, and all the extra information, KittyHawk!!

Edited by intellectualammo, 06 February 2006 - 01:19 PM.

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." 
- Cyril Connolly
 
My seven published books can be found here: Amazon Author Page
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I'm also on deviantART


#11
KittyHawk

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I think people have mistakenly labeled Prinzivalle as a Platonist (online), it was Marsiglio Ficino who was "the very soul of Plato born again on earth..." as Marco said of one other person in his tent. Have you heard anyone call Prinzivalle a Platonist? I just can't find anything that supports that. Just because he read the works, doesn't mean he is one.


That's the first time I've heard Prinzivalle referred to as a Platonist. I've not really seen much discussion of Monna Vanna online, though. But I agree, just because he's read Plato doesn't make him a Platonist----otherwise I'd be a Platonist, too.

#12
Linda

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Ayn Rand called this play, "...one of the greatest plays in all of world literature."

When Monna Vanna was on sale at the Ayn Rand bookstore, I bought it, and I certainly agree with her, though, mind you, I really haven't read many plays before.

I was wondering if any of you have read this? If you haven't I absolutely recommend it.

If you have read it, maybe you could say what you think of the characters of, Vanna, Prinzivalle, Guido...their actions, and so forth.


Quent Cordair Fine Art is producing "Monna Vanna" for the 2008 Arts Cruise. To our knowledge it has not been performed live in over 70 years. There are only a few cabins left, please contact us if you would enjoy travelling with us.
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#13
intellectualammo

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In trying to find out all that I can about this play still, I came across this thread of mine that I had started around a year or so ago. My knowledge of this play has broadened widely since then, and before I make further comments on it, I'd at least like to correct myself with two statements I had made that are really bothering me right now.

Speaking of We The Living, I would still value a Kira higher than I do a Vanna, and I would also value a Prinzivalle higher than a Leo.


Now that I understand Vanna's character a lot more because of these podcasts, I wouldn't even compare the two, and why I did before, I'm not exactly sure to this day. So whatever I said above in regards to Vanna, please, disregard it now.

Okay, some. I see Prinzivalle, as a Kira type, and I see Vanna with a touch of a Leo type, and Guido with a touch of an Andrei type.


These are quite laughable to me now, since I've changed so much since then. Again, just disregard these comments too, as irrelevant. It wasn't until May of that year (a few months after these comments) that I really began learning how to use my pencil correctly.

This spiritual love that I had spoken of previously in this thread about Prinzivalle having for Giovanna, I think that this is the kind of love that Emily was speaking of in podcast #11 with Joel, when Emily had referred to Vanna as being a love virgin, in the spiritual sense of it. I completely agree with that identification. It amazes me how Emily keeps making all of these relations, and finding ever more meaning into Maeterlinck's play. How she went from the meaning of a cloak to that is amazing to me. I just wonder what this play would have been like if Maeterlinck would have been more explicit about his symbolism and hidden meanings in his play. I don't think it would have been nearly as good, if he had. I know that as I am editing the novel that I have still not completely written yet, I'm definately deleting parts where I was explicit in the meaning of the symbolism that I was using. I rely heavily on hidden meanings, symbolism, double entendre's, paronomasia, et cetera and should be consistent with it especially now after hearing Emily's excitement about finding such meanings in Maeterlinck's play, on her own, and not explicitly done in the play itself, has totally gotten me to keep those meanings implicit, hidden, but yet still can be seen - if I have a reader...with such eyes for it.

Edited by intellectualammo, 05 December 2007 - 06:17 PM.

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." 
- Cyril Connolly
 
My seven published books can be found here: Amazon Author Page
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"Portrait of Steven L. Sheppard", a drawing by Robert C. Tracy
I'm also on deviantART



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