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The Virtues of the Tyrant and the Passions of the Hero

‘Il Forno overo della nobilità’ and the Treatises on Heroic Virtue

Maiko Favaro

Pages 3 - 20

Focusing on the dialogue ‘Il Forno overo della nobiltà’ , the author argues that Tasso differentiates himself from mainstream tradition by offering a less strict and less abstract conception of human greatness. He traces this greatness even in the usually despised figure of the tyrant. In Tasso’s view, traditionally opposite figures like the tyrant and the hero can have something in common. The author highlights the connections between this conception and philosophical reflections on heroic virtue. For example, Tasso was inspired by the Neoplatonic Proclus and the Aristotelian Flaminio de’ Nobili. After comparing Forno’s attitude towards tyranny and heroism with the one of the ‘Gerusalemme Liberata’ and of the ‘Gerusalemme Conquistata’ , the author discusses briefly the reception of Forno’s views on tyranny in two little-known works on heroic virtue, that is the dialogue ‘L’eroe, overo della Virtù eroica’ by Francesco India (1591) and the treatise ‘Sommaria descritione dell’eroe’ by Decio Celeri (1607).


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