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Aria da Capo   By: (1892-1950)

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Aria da Capo by Edna St. Vincent Millay is a poignant and thought-provoking play that delves into the themes of art, love, and the cyclical nature of life. Set in a small theatrical setting, the narrative follows two characters, Pierrot and Columbine, as they engage in a mesmerizing dance between comedy and tragedy.

Millay's writing style is a masterclass in poetic expression, reminiscent of Shakespearean dialogue. The play unfolds with lyrical verses and exquisite word choices that transport readers to a timeless realm of introspection and emotion. The characters' dialogue is infused with wit, humor, and profound insights, evoking laughter and, at times, a contemplative silence.

As the play progresses, Millay cleverly introduces a secondary layer to the narrative, intertwining socio-political commentary amidst the performances. She challenges societal norms, satirizes the futility of wars, and raises questions about the power dynamics within relationships. This duality adds depth to the storyline, encouraging readers to ponder upon the larger implications of their actions and the consequences of perpetuating cycles of violence and oppression.

One of the most striking aspects of Aria da Capo is Millay's ability to seamlessly transition between light-hearted comedy and heart-wrenching tragedy. The play begins with a joyous theatrical performance between Pierrot and Columbine, filled with whimsy and joviality. However, as the story unfolds, the dark undercurrents of their existence become apparent, and a somber tone takes hold. This juxtaposition forces readers to confront the ephemeral nature of happiness and the inevitability of sorrow.

Furthermore, Millay's exploration of love is both captivating and introspective. Through Pierrot and Columbine's relationship, she explores the complexities of love and its ability to both elevate and destroy individuals. Their love is portrayed as passionate, yet unstable, filled with moments of intense connection and profound loneliness. Millay paints a vivid picture of the dichotomies and contradictions within love - its ability to inspire both jubilation and heartbreak.

Aria da Capo's brevity reinforces its impact. In a concise and compact manner, Millay manages to capture an entire spectrum of human emotions and experiences. This play is not just a performance but a meditation on life, art, and the folly of our societal constructs.

In conclusion, Aria da Capo is a remarkable piece of literature that beautifully weaves together themes of artistry, love, and the cyclical nature of existence. Edna St. Vincent Millay's poetic prowess shines through every line, leaving readers captivated and contemplative.

First Page:



Copyright, 1920

By Edna St. Vincent Millay

Printed in the U. S. A.




Cothurnus, Masque of Tragedy

Thyrsis \ Shepherds Corydon /

[Scene: A stage]

[The curtain rises on a stage set for a Harlequinade, a merry black and white interior. Directly behind the footlights, and running parallel with them, is a long table, covered with a gay black and white cloth, on which is spread a banquet. At the opposite ends of this table, seated on delicate thin‐legged chairs with high backs, are Pierrot and Columbine, dressed according to the tradition, excepting that Pierrot is in lilac, and Columbine in pink. They are dining.]

COLUMBINE: Pierrot, a macaroon! I cannot live without a macaroon!

PIERROT: My only love, You are so intense! . . . Is it Tuesday, Columbine?— I’ll kiss you if it’s Tuesday.

COLUMBINE: It is Wednesday, If you must know . . . . Is this my artichoke, Or yours?

PIERROT: Ah, Columbine,—as if it mattered! Wednesday . . . . Will it be Tuesday, then, to‐morrow, By any chance?

COLUMBINE: To‐morrow will be—Pierrot, That isn’t funny!

PIERROT: I thought it rather nice. Well, let us drink some wine and lose our heads And love each other... Continue reading book >>

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