Sexual Fables

This article accompanies the fable
The Whore's Revenge

Punch and Judy Shows

The physical fights between Casanova and La Charpillon resemble Punch and Judy shows. Mister Punch possibly is derived from Pulcinella, a stock character in the fabulous Italian commedia dell'arte that Casanova knew well. I love the early Wikipedia description of him quoted below (it was elevated to a Wiki Classic quote and much fought over but now it's gone, a victim of bullies with no sense of humor):

"The stereotypical view of Punch casts him as a deformed, child-murdering, wife-beating psychopath who commits appalling acts of violence and cruelty upon all those around him and escapes scot-free – this is greatly enjoyed by small children."

Below you can see him beating up Judy.


Pulcinella is shown below in Tiepolo's painting of 1793, Pulcinella and the Tumblers, one of several that Tiepolo finished around this time. Pulcinella has had a long nose, is dressed in white and has a black mask. He is a trickster figure with a sadistic streak and, though he may have begun in Italy, he was quickly adopted elsewhere in Europe to play all the really unpleasant roles, sometimes hunchbacked, always a womanizer, but in the shadow of the more famous Harlequin and the melancholic romantic Pierrot (Pedrolino). In a way he is a combination of the two.


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