In the book, the courtier is described as having a cool mind, a good voice with beautiful, elegant and brave words along with proper bearing and gestures. At the same time though, the courtier is expected to have a warrior spirit, to be athletic, and have good knowledge of the humanities, Classics and fine arts. Over the course of four evenings, members of the court try to describe the perfect gentleman of the court. In the process they debate the nature of nobility, humor, women, and love.
Politically it seeks to define the position of a courtier in relation to the Prince he serves. Divided into four books, it describes a series of conversations held among the courtiers and the ladies of the Court of Urbino in the presence of the Duchess, Eleanora Gonzaga.
Ottaviano stresses that the most important quality of a perfect courtier must be to win the favour and the mind of the Prince to such a degree that he may be capable of speaking his mind to the Prince without the fear of displeasing him.
Loathing such a situation, Ottaviano considers the courtier responsible to guide the Prince along the path of virtue and truth. Thus the problematic question of deception that Gaspare had violently attacked previously when Federico had insisted that his ideal courtier is the master of deceit is now justified by Castiglione.
Castiglione justifies this deception on moral grounds when he insists that the courtier should strive to use his talents to make himself and his moral lessons pleasing and ingratiating to the Prince in order to advise and educate him. The courtier should thus be: Importance is thus placed in pedagogic education and the courtier is entrusted to play the role of an advisor and an educator.
Castiglione presents his ideal courtier as the model of active virtue and proposes reason and moral awareness as seminal in just action. His only purpose is to lead the Prince onto the virtuous path.
Castiglione stresses that it is of utmost importance for the courtier to have a holistic understanding of the character and interests of the Prince to win his heart and mind and thereby have access to educate and influence him onto the virtuous path of reason and justice.
It is this faculty that separated the fates of Aristotle and Calisthenes.
He believes that the moral and ethical education of the Prince under the guidance of the courtier will serve as a tool of empire-building. It will make him a judicious and capable administrator and this will in turn lead his state to attain the cherished peace and prosperity.
The perfect courtier with his noble qualities attains a grand stature and is equated to those Greek leaders who emerged from the Trojan horse.
Thus Ottaviano anticipates the rebirth of the utopian Golden age as he sought to redefine the character of the courtier. In this context, Castiglione also seems to draw our attention to the interdependent power relationship that exists between the Prince and the courtier.
The courtier cannot exist without the court or the Prince.
He is both politically and economically dependent on the Prince. But the Prince, too, is dependent on the advice of the courtier, for as Ottaviano said that virtues lie rooted in our soul but develops into its full form only when education nurtures them.
Though most of the courtiers express their doubts over the possibility of undertaking such a difficult role, yet Ottaviano is hopeful and so is Castiglione. Castiglione ingenuously transformed the knight whose prime objective was to adopt the courtly codes of social conduct and to serve his lady, into a dutiful pure spirit whose sole purpose is to serve his Prince as an advisor.Castiglione's "The Courtier", a landmark in Renaissance literature, is a treatise presented in dialogue form, offering hints on how the courtier ought to act, to win the favours of ladies, to comport himself and - Reviews: 6.
The book written by, Baldesar Castiglione, The Courtier helps define exactly what this social class consisted of. This book highlights many of the areas in which one would need to excel at to be considered better than an average man, and on his way to becoming a courtier.
"The Book of the Courtier () is a series of fictional conversations by courtiers of the Duke of Urbino that take place in , when Baldesar Castiglione was himself attache to the Duke.
Castiglione was born in and a member of an ancient aristocratic family.
A courtier throughout his life, his writings were always a secondary affair. George Bull was an author and journlaist who translated six books for the Penguin Classics, including The Prince by Machiavelli. The Book of the Courtier by Baldesar Castiglione, Hoby Thomas (Translator) starting at $ The Book of the Courtier has 4 available editions to buy at Alibris 3 Days Only | Save $ The Book of the Courtier Amazon de Baldesar Castiglione September 24th, - The Book of the Courtier is the definitive account of Renaissance court life First printed in Venice in it rapidly.