Wide view of Venice: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni

HARLEQUIN's witty commentaries

Anything he says is usually ... explosive

Harlequin is the one that always has a ready answer, and the more creative, ironic and witty, the better. Some examples follow.

  • This is how Harlequin once introduced himself in a play:

"Mi son Arlechin Batocio
orbo de na recia e sordo da un ocio."

"I am Arlechin Batocio
blind in one ear and deaf in one eye."


  • In another comedy, he has a dialogue with Ottavio one of the lovers :

Ottavio: "How many fathers have you?"

Harlequin: "I have only one ..."

"But why have you only one father?"

"Well, I'm a poor man, and can't afford any more ..."


  • And here is Harlequin acting as a Doctor, offering to treat the Captain's toothache:

Harlequin: "Take a pinch of pepper, some garlic, and vinegar, and rub it into your arse, and you'll forget about your pain in no time."

The Captain starts to leave and Harlequin adds:

"Wait a moment! I know a better remedy than that: take an apple, cut it in four equal parts; put one of the pieces in your mouth, and hold your head in an oven until the apple is baked.
I'll answer for it if it won't cure your toothache!"

  • Cinthio asks Harlequin's about hte origins of his name and this is the answer by Giuseppe Domenico Biancolelli:

"My name is Arlechino Sbrufadelli. Don't make fun of me; my ancestors were people of consequence. The first Sbrufadel was a pork-butcher by profession, but so eminent that Nero refused to eat any other sausages than those he furnished. Sbrufadel sired Fregocola, a great captain. He married a woman of so lively a temperament that she bore me two days after the wedding ." ... and so on

Maurice Sand: Arlechino (year 1570)
engraving with hand coloring
From the Recueil Frossard: Harlequin during a verbal fight with FrancaTrippa about the love of Francischina
Jeremias Wachsmuth:
Il Harlequin (The Harlequin)
Domenico Biancolelli, favourite actor in the role of Harlequin according to
the French King Louis XIV
engraving by Martin Engelbrecht
(18th century)

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