ENG 221 QCQ #8: Mandragola Acts IV-V

ENG 221 QCQ #8: Mandragola Acts IV-V


Callimaco: …After sighing a little, she said: “Since your cunning, my husband’s stupidity, my mother’s foolishness, and the wickedness of my confessor have led me to do what I would never have done of myself, I’m ready to believe it was heaven’s will that it should all happen this way, and I don’t have it in me to reject what heaven wants me to accept. Therefore, I receiver you as lord, master, guide…” (56).



These lines from Cal are from Act V, as he divulges to Ligurio (Luigi) the details of the night he spent with Lucrezia (Lucy). Cal tells Luigi that he confessed the entire scheme to Lucy after he slept with her for several hours and that the above lines were her response. According to Cal, Lucy thought up a scheme to call Cal her future child’s godfather so that he may visit whenever he likes and the two can be together without any suspicion from Messer Nicia (Nicky).

I can’t speak for all women, and especially not for those who lived in a different time period, but had I been in Lucy’s situation, I feel as though I would probably have a different reaction. I am not a fan of manipulation or (how do we put this lightly??) forced relations. Had I believed in the existence of this magic potion in the first place, I would be devastated when the real plan was confessed to me. Lucy initially had a strict code of conduct as a virtuous woman and, as she said in the above quote, she never would have slept with Cal of her own accord. And, to make matters worse, everyone else involved in the scheme, including Cal himself, knew that she would never have agreed unless she was deceived. So why does she end up being totally down for what happened to her?

I believe there are two factors at play in terms of why she responded positively to Cal’s deceit. The main reason she cites is religion. Lucy tells Cal that in order for everyone involved to play their part in fooling her into the act, it must have been God’s will that she be with Cal. Religion, I’m finding throughout the course of this class, plays a major role in the human’s decision-making process in terms of right and wrong. I’m thinking it’s part of the comedy of the play that Lucy cites religion in this way. It’s like if I were to go to the pub and say, “if there’s a two-for-one deal on these burgers then it must be heaven’s will that I buy two burgers today.” Anything can be excused if you say that God told you to do it, right? And perhaps Lucy’s use of religion really is just an excuse. The second factor at play could simply be her attraction to Cal.



To what extent should people be able to evoke religion as an excuse to do something that could potentially be immoral? Is there any way to regulate it? How?

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