AskDefine | Define scaramouch

Dictionary Definition

Scaramouch n : a stock character in commedia dell'arte depicted as a boastful coward [syn: Scaramouche]

Extensive Definition

Scaramuccia, also known as Scaramouche, is a roguish clown character who wears a black mask and black trousers, shirt and hat. He is usually portrayed as a buffoon or boastful clown(in this latter capacity he can be considered a smaller derivative of Il Capitano). The character was invented by a 17th century Italian actor, Tiberio Fiorilli.
The name was that of a stock character in 17th-century Italian farce, Scaramuccia (i.e. literally "skirmish"), who, attired usually in a black Spanish dress, burlesquing a don, was beaten by Harlequin for his boasting and cowardice.
Scaramouche is one of the iconic characters in the Punch and Judy puppet shows (a performative art with roots in commedia dell'arte). In some scenarios, he is the owner of The Dog, another stock character. During performances, Punch frequently strikes Scaramouche, causing his head to come off of his shoulders. Because of this, the term scaramouche has become associated with a class of puppets with extendable necks.

Scaramouche in popular culture

I see a little silhouetto of a manScaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango?Thunderbolt and lightning, very very frightening me ...
Scaramouche is also the name of the lead female role in the Queen musical We Will Rock You.
  • The poet Wallace Stevens uses the name Scaramouche in the poem "The Weeping Burgher":
And ah! that ScaramoucheShould have a black barouche.
  • Scaramouche is the name of a suite for Saxophone and Cabaret orchestra or, in a transcription, for two pianos by the French composer Darius Milhaud. Milhaud first composed the piece for saxophone and cabaret orchestra as music for a theatre piece.
  • In the opening chapter of the book Phule's Company by Robert Asprin, the main character Willard Phule uses Scaramouche as his alias.
  • The name of Toronto's well known, top restaurant, Scaramouche
  • In Tom Stoppard's On the Razzle, Scaramouche is the nom de plume used by sales clerk Weinberl in his letters while answering "lonely hearts advertisements."
  • In an issue of Sergio Aragonés's Groo the Wanderer, Groo becomes violently angry when he is called a "scaramouche" even though he doesn't know what the word means.
scaramouch in German: Scaramuz
scaramouch in French: Scaramouche (commedia dell'arte)
scaramouch in Italian: Scaramuccia (teatro)
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