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‘The Mistress of the Inn’, is a play originally written under the title, La Locandiera, by Carlo Goldoni. The play is also translated as Mirandolinaafter the play’s main character or the innkeeper woman. The play was written in 1753 by the Venetian playwright Goldoni Carlo, presented as a three-phase comedy. It centers on a flirty, romantic and based on sex relationship of the main character with others – these traits are seen by using body language and verbal communication. The play focuses on a coquette, who is the female the center of attention of different men. The play, ‘The Mistress of the Inn,’- is considered the playwright’s masterpiece - as it is one of the best works of Goldoni. The chief essence of the play – is depicting the explosive nature of love, as it portrays the effects of love, if somebody is lying to another person. In this case, the love bursts out, hurting not only the person that falls in love, but also the person who triggered the feeling of love (Steele 1981, 48).
In the flirty woman Mirandolina, the owner of an inn, ignites the feeling of has sworn love women, Mr. Cavaliere. The play represents a clear picture of the force of love, which is stronger than the power of a person, who might try to control it. It also seeks to insist that people who fall in love – seem to lose control of their feelings and emotions. The themes depicted in this work are realism and rationality, as it seeks to portray the picture of the way things are. This paper will discuss ‘The Mistress of the Inn’ as a play about seduction and sexual customs – as either undermining or reinforcing gendered expectations about sex and money (Steele 1981, 48).
‘The Mistress of the Inn,’ is a play about seduction and sexual customs, considering the track taken by the storyline throughout the play. First, Mirandolina is highly sought by two influential men: the Marchese of Forlipopopoli and Albafafioritita. Mirandolina is also deeply sought and desired by her male servant, Mr. Fabrizio. The three men have been trying to seduce her, willing to marry her, though she does not intend to marry any of them. Mirandolina is shown as a character, which only enjoys being a woman of her own control and making and the owner of her own flourishing business, who is free to do whatever she wants.. From this account, the seduction is practiced by the three men who seriously desire to make Mirandolina their woman and wife. The play depicts sexual customs of the problematic nature of love, when men should pursue women and not the reverse. The other account of seduction and sexual customs – though, it is a reverse of the first case, is the account of the pursuit of Mirandolina, winning love of a man who had surprisingly sworn never to fall in love with a woman, Mr. Cavaliere of Rippafrattata. The second love pursuit is a reverse version of the first case, mainly because this woman was the one who was pursuing the man, despite that she felt nothing for him. In the case of Mirandolina’s pursuit for Mr. Cavaliere, the intention of the woman is to uncover her emotionally manipulative nature and the power she could command in that situation (Steele 1981, 48).
Gender expectations about sex and money are the constructions which are intended to show men`s attitude towards love in the society. These are the standards set for men, on the basis of sex, a condition that makes men as well as women feel pressured. In the real sense, women just like men, will feel pressured to fit into rigid, narrow, and often highly self-contradicting gender roles – as the other gender would expect of them. This is a contagious issue even in the contemporary world, as it is conclusive that people who care about feminism. There is also a need to care about men and how the gender based constructions hurt them, otherwise simply leave them as marginalized individuals. Some of the gender expectations about sex and money, to be pointed out from the case presented through the play, ‘The Mistress of the Inn,’ include the following: the expectation of the society to see men wealthy and rich, so that they can be considered worthy of attention and recognition. The other gendered expectation is the demand of men to portray themselves as winners, and show themselves as unbeatable. This construction shows that the societies do not seem to accept men as humans, who can fail again and again, but still remain men, who deserve attention of those around them. The covertly embraced a belief that men should be mentally and emotionally strong as well as capable of showing themselves as strong in all other areas, where strength and capabilities can be also depicted. An example here is an undocumented fact that men should not display their emotions; even when they are subjected to feel moments, such as loss of their loved one. The inherent needs to display themselves as capable to resist any trial and fixing any issue that faces men is another gendered expectation about sex and money. Here, men are required to be tactful, cunning and capable of showing that they are stronger and wiser than women. Lastly, it is a social need to make men to behave like men, especially when they are dealing with women within their social groups (Riedt 1974, 176).
From the plot of ‘The Mistress of the Inn,’ the gendered expectations that men should be rich are clearly reinforced through the characters used by the playwright. The servant-hood status of Fabricus is contrasted with the wealthy nature of the cunning lady, Mirandolina. The play portrays her as not to be interested in marriage. Mirandolina, also seems not to be moved by the presence of Fabricus at the Inn, where she courts more than three other men, showing that she did not regard him as a man, who is worth of respect and consideration. This can be attributed to the fact that she was rich, while he was not – but a mere servant to her. Through this case, it is exemplified how a man will feel and get treated as though they are worthless or powerless, simply on the basis of the consideration that they are not rich. The expectation of men in the area of getting rich is also reinforced, from the significance given to the old nobleman, who had lost his economic fortune, leaving him with nothing except his noble, aristocratic title and name. Here, Mirandolina considers him to be useful , as she perceives that, despite his economical disability, he can advertise her business. The second one, an aristocrat is a merchant, therefore, capable of fulfilling any economical demands imposed on him, despite that he could also help develop the reputation of her business. This clearly shows that men are perceived as of importance in the society, if only they have any economical significance. From the play, these men are flattered before the eyes of Fabricus, showing how he could not argue against the situation because of his economical instability. In this same line, Fabricus agrees to marry the cunning woman, despite the fact that it was a flirt, a case that can point out that he would condone all that, so that he could own the Inn after marrying her. Mirandolina, on the other hand, makes the choice to marry the servant, because of the value he would deliver to the inn, unlike the aristocrats – who would not guarantee any such direct role-playing in making her richer or more successful (Kennard 1920, 34).
The gendered expectation that men should be winners at all times is displayed and reinforced, in the case, where Mirandolina considers the noble men to be only icons that could help advertise her business, and nothing more, especially the one who had failed economically. The previous case can be opposed to the attention given to Cavalier, who seems to hold more potential for her. The decision of the Cavalier to leave and never show up after the rejection by Mirandolina, shows that he does not possess the manlike attributes of accepting defeat like a man, as the two noble men did. The choice of Mirandolina - to marry Fabricus - can also be attributed to the expectation that a man should present results and not just talk, as she most likely picks him, because of the action he would contribute towards the success of the inn as compared to the words of the two noble men or the Cavalier, who looks like a coward (Goldoni 1961, 76).
The gendered expectation that men should show or portray themselves as strong: physically and emotionally is reinforced through the play, ‘The Mistress of the Inn.’ This is portrayed from the case of Mr. Cavalier, as he evidently does not take the news of his rejection like two other men. From the play the reader can see him as one who gets extremely upset from the rejection, and unlike other men facing the same fate, he cannot stand being at the inn, so he had to leave. Being the competition of the two noble men; though they were also competitors themselves, he seems unable to take the news and act calmly like the two noble men, who act in a properly man-like manner. The Cavalier is also portrayed as a man who is emotionally weak and not able to handle a condition that does not seem reasonable when associated with men, though it is agreeable to witness it from women.
The inherently gendered expectation that men should be sources of solutions and contribution to the lives of other men and women is reinforced through the play. This gendered expectation is shown in the choice, which was made by Mirandolina in her decision to marry Fabricus, a man she hadn't shown any indications of wanting to marry, despite the Father’s express need for that before his death. The choice of marrying Fabricus was most likely a tactical move to keep the contribution she always made to the Inn, as she would further improve her business. She decided to stick with the man who would deliver actions, towards making the business better, considering that he had contributed significantly towards its success and development, and would continue doing the same after marrying her, as opposed to a case where he would lose her – which could make him decide otherwise.
The gendered expectation that a man should stand like a man, especially before a woman, is also reinforced through the play, ‘The Mistress of the Inn.’ This is exemplified from the pursuit of Mirandolina to seduce Cavalier, considering that she did not feel love for him, but was interested in exercising her seductive power and her ability to control men. From the case, it is evident that Cavalier failed in Mirandolina’s test, falling for her fluttery, a case that can be used to show him as a weak man, who cannot withstand the lies and the cunning nature of a woman. This is based on the societal view that a man should be able to stand his grounds and defend his positions in order to show his masculinity (Carlson 1981, 124).