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Mistero Buffo Essay, Research Paper

Dario Fo’s play “Mistero Buffo” is a satirical comedy that aims to give its audience a greater awareness of their own conditions. This play is meant to be performed for the common people, because it depicts their oppression by more powerful people through the use of comedy, satire, and irony. “Mistero Buffo” itself is made up of seven smaller, separate plays. None of these smaller plays is more satirical than “Birth of the Villeyn.” It is this play which I will be focusing on in my essay. I am going to show how “Birth of a Villeyn” was relevant in it’s own time, and how it relates to society today.

The “Birth of the Villeyn” was originally performed in Europe during the Middle Ages. During this time there was little room for economic prosperity or upward mobility. It was during times like these that these types of plays were originally performed. It was meant to give its audience, comprised mostly of peasants, a better understanding of their own horrid conditions. The nobleman says, “At carnival time allow him to dance, and even sing, let him enjoy himself, but not too much, because he must not forget that he exists in this world in order to labour.”(60) Here the nobleman is satirically describing how a peasant should be treated. Comic mysteries such as Fo’s “Mistero Buffo” were used to reveal social problems, which were oppressive to peasants, and or the lower class. These plays often depicted how the upper class oppressed and took advantage of the peasants in order to benefit them more. Dario Fo’s play “Mistero Buffo” is based on Middle Age texts, but it is also very relevant to society today.

Dario Fo’s play “Mistero Buffo” is relevant to society today in two ways. The first of these ways is beneficial to the peasants, or lower class. And the second way is beneficial to today’s nobles, the upper class. “Mistero Buffo” is beneficial to the lower class because it still speaks to give the audience a better understanding of their social conditions, telling their audience to fight for their rights as people. The second way in which “Mistero Buffo” is relevant today is to the nobles. IT tells them to take advantage of others for personal gain. One must perform any means necessary for personal gain. This sounds almost like Machiavelli’s famous book “the Prince,” which was based on political theory. “The political arena leaves no one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue.” This quote by Emma Goldman relates well to “Mistero Buffo.” The theme of this play is about power. It is a good example of how to hold onto it. Because a person can either be the boss, or they can be bossed around. As you can see, “Mistero Buffo” is still relevant in our time.

Dario Fo’s play “Mistero Buffo” is a great example of satirical comedy as well as mystic comedy. It does a good job in giving its audience a better understanding of their own conditions. Comic mysteries such as “Mistero Buffo” do a good job exposing the social injustices, which are implemented to the lower class around the world. As I have shown, “Birth of the Villeyn” was not only relevant to people in it’s own time period, The Middle Ages, but also to people in our society today. Overall I would have to say that Dario Fo’s play “Birth of the Villeyn” is a very good, and often eye-opening comedy that points out the injustices of society.


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