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).