Posted by: vikingsinspace | September 19, 2011

VI.01.24. Read The Tyrant

Date Accomplished: 6 May 2011

The Tyrant: Thomas Allen Edition

My Sabatini Journal

“It is solacing to weep sometimes.” (5)

“Alas!  A messenger is welcomed according to the news he brings, and Heaven knows I am a messenger of evil.” (12)

“Most wisdom, my lord, is heresy.” (34)

“… beauty is a coinage universally honoured.” (55)

“Hate, madonna, is the first-born of fear, and I have made men fear me.” (99)

The Tyrant: An Episode in the Career of Cesare Borgia, A Play in Four Acts.  This is the only play by Sabatini to be published, and likely the only play to be professionally performed (although it is known that he wrote many others).  I think I read somewhere that it was universally panned, which would explain the nine-page preface almost justifying his work.  I know little of Cesare Borgia myself other than having read The Prince (or through Sabatini’s own work), so cannot really comment on Sabatini’s opinions of the Duke, but he did have some eloquent (and cutting) things to say about history and historians.

The Tyrant

The play itself is a reworking of Sabatini’s short story “The Lust of Conquest” in The Justice of the Duke.  Sabatini added to this story (the entirety of the fourth act) and gave it a more dramatic ending.  I personally thought the end of the short story (and the third act of the play) was the perfect stopping point, but I can also see how this alternate ending would work well in a play.  I get the sense that Sabatini was trying to inject some populist elements into his play, not only  with the some-what clichéd ending, but also the inclusion of the character of Machiavelli.  It would have been interesting to see, particularly if the rich sets Sabatini describes were adhered to.


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