di Gianluigi Tomassi

The type of the misanthropist, a psychologically complex figure, was established and pre­ci­se­ly developed in the ancient theatre. The Attic comedy authors describe the misanthropy as total despite for the human race using the figure of Timon of Athens, famous archetype of a misanthropist, who became protagonist of a dialogue, written during the Imperial Time by Lucian of Samosata and imitated in the Modern Age by Matteo Maria Boiardo and Sha­ke­speare. On the contrary, Cnemon, protagonist of Menander’s Dyscolos, is a brusque man, who doesn’t hate the humans in a way that he cannot deal with other people: in this way he becomes likeable for his public. Some misanthropical elements can also be found in o­ther literary types, such as the titanic sophoclean Philoctetes or, particularly, Plautus’ Eu­clion, who became a model during the centuries for the theatre authors (for example Mo­liè­re and Goldoni).