Donna Abbandonata Character Analysis

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Donna Elvira is portrayed as the “Donna Abbandonata” (abandoned woman) throughout various literature. In particular, I will examine her character through Wolfgang A. Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte’s Don Giovanni. Donna Elvira is a sensible and imprudent woman throughout her ordeal with Don Giovanni. She can’t decide whether she wants to kiss Giovanni or to kill him. Donna Elvira is unwavering in her goal throughout the opera. She is in love with Don Giovanni even while being completely aware of his faults. Lorenzo Da Ponte, while influenced from previously written works of Don Giovanni, wrote an original libretto for Mozart’s opera. His characterization of Donna Elvira epitomizes the “Donna Abbandonata” theme, as well the way Mozart wrote her music. I will be breaking down her character through musical and literary analysis. However, to fully comprehend her role as a “Donna Abbandonata”, I will begin at the origins of this figure.
The theme of the abandoned woman in the mythical Greek-Roman stories reoccurs a figure of the heroine who fell in love with a stranger, it helps him in a difficult task, being somewhat less than the duties that bind the family and their homeland; then follows it, often far away, only to be betrayed and abandoned. In the
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Lawerence Lipking makes a reference to Donna Elvira in his book Abandoned Women and Poetic Tradition: “Most of us know little about being heroes, about exercising power without conscience, debauching multitudes, and forcing the devil himself to take an interest in our doing. But most of us do know something about feeling lost and lonely. Donna Elvira speaks for those feelings”. Abandonment is absolute powerlessness and absolute freedom. Elvira encompasses these feelings and emotions and I plan to study her character as a three dimensional strong woman and not as some portray her as just a woman who has gone mad because a man abandoned

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