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Orlando Furioso   By: (1474-1533)

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Orlando Furioso by Lodovico Ariosto is a mesmerizing epic poem that takes readers on a captivating journey through the chivalrous world of knights, sorcery, and courtly love. This timeless masterpiece, written in the 16th century, has stood the test of time and continues to enchant readers with its rich storytelling and vivid imagery.

The poem revolves around the hero Orlando, a brave and noble knight known for his valiance and loyalty. Orlando's love for the beautiful princess Angelica sets the stage for a series of epic adventures and conflicts. Ariosto weaves together various subplots and narratives, introducing a multitude of characters from all walks of life, including other knights, warriors, damsels, and magical creatures. These diverse characters lend depth to the story, each offering their own unique set of virtues and flaws.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Orlando Furioso is Ariosto's unparalleled ability to paint vivid images with words. His descriptions are so vivid that readers can almost feel the heat of the battles, taste the sweetness of the fruits, and hear the galloping of horses. This mastery of language creates a deeply immersive reading experience, transporting readers to a fantastical world of enchantment, where every turn of the page promises a new adventure.

Alongside its enthralling narrative, the poem also delves into more profound themes. Ariosto explores the complexities of love and desire, loyalty and betrayal, and the clash between duty and personal wishes. Through his characters, he showcases the power of motivation and its influence on human actions, often leading to both honorable and tragic outcomes. These contemplations on the human condition make Orlando Furioso a work that goes beyond a mere tale of adventure, elevating it to the status of a philosophical reflection on life itself.

However, it is worth noting that the sheer length and complexity of the poem can be overwhelming for some readers. Ariosto's extensive cast of characters and intricate plotlines require patience and concentration to fully appreciate. Additionally, the translation used can greatly influence the enjoyment of the work, as the beauty of Ariosto's original Italian language may be lost in certain interpretations.

Overall, Orlando Furioso is a true literary masterpiece that has left an indelible mark on the world of literature. Its intricate storytelling, vibrant imagery, and exploration of timeless themes make it a must-read for lovers of epic poetry and adventure. Ariosto's ability to transport readers to a world filled with knights, magic, and romance is unmatched, making Orlando Furioso a classic that should be cherished by generations to come.

First Page:

Orlando Furioso

("Orlando Enraged")


Ludovico Ariosto

(1474 1533)

Translated by William Stewart Rose

This electronic edition was edited, proofed, and prepared by Douglas B. Killings (DeTroyes@AOL.COM), July, 1995. Additional corrections made September, 1995.

NOTE: Please let the preparer know of any textual errors that you find; this edition has been proofed once, but I am finding additional errors all the time.


This work is a continuation of the "Orlando Innamorato" of Matteo Maria Boiardo, which was left unfinished upon the author's death in 1494. It begins more or less at the point where Boiardo left it.

This is a brief synopsis of Boiardo's work, omitting most of the numerous digressions and incidental episodes associated with these events:

To the court of King Charlemagne comes Angelica (daughter to the king of Cathay, or India) and her brother Argalia. Angelica is the most beautiful woman any of the Peers have ever seen, and all want her. However, in order to take her as wife they must first defeat Argalia in combat. The two most stricken by her are Orlando and Ranaldo ("Rinaldo" in Rose).

When Argalia falls to the heathen knight Ferrau, Angelica flees with Orlando and Ranaldo in hot pursuit. Along the way, both Angelica and Ranaldo drink magic waters Angelica is filled with a burning love for Ranaldo, but Ranaldo is now indifferent... Continue reading book >>

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