El Capitan (The Captain)

[Image of a Captain with sword]The origins of this mask, common in the commedia dell’arte, in that its root go back to the Roman theatre (Miles gloriosus di Plauto).

It is the mask of a boastful, vainglorious, big-talking soldier. It has its origins in popular satire against the Spanish ruler and against the various mercenaries that invaded Italy.

His language is thick with Spanish terms and he speaks a "Spanishified" Italian to describe his grand enterprises and gasconades. The names of this mask are very pompous: Captain Fear, Fracasso, Ironsplinter etc and often of Spanish origin.

His quarrels with the "Zanni" are amusing in the commedia dell’arte when he goes off into long tirades about his famous war enterprises and no-one pays any attention.

The costume is the uniform which consists of a multicolored striped tunic embellished with golden buttons, a feathered hat and of course the enormous sword.

It is rare for this costume to have a mask.