The Fat Woodworker By Antonio Manetti Essay

The Fat Woodworker By Antonio Manetti Essay

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Antonio Manetti, a Florentine Humanist and holder of several high offices in Florence, was the author of the delightful novella known as the Fat Woodworker. This novella, first published in its final refined form in the 1470’s, tells the story of a rather complex and slightly malicious trick created by a genius architect known as Filippo Brunelleschi. While the trick is mean at times, the reader tends to not notice because of the comedic way that the fat woodworker reacts. The prank that unfolds can in some ways closely parallel the many tricks that occur in Boccaccio’s Decameron, though there are some large differences.
This novella begins with a group of noblemen getting together for dinner. They notice that one man, Manetto the woodworker, is not present. This leads to resentment and the creation of a long, complex trick masterminded by Filippo di ser Brunelleschi. The prank begins that night as Filippo visits Manetto’s woodshop and tells him that his mother is sick. Because of this, Filippo must leave right away and tells Manetto to wait for him for a while and if he does not come back he can go home. Filippo then goes to Manetto’s house, enters and locks the door waiting for Manetto to come home. When Manetto returns and finds his door locked, he knocks and is met by a man sounding suspiciously like himself yelling down at him. Filippo is inside pretending to be Manetto, and acting as if it is Matteo at the front door and not Manetto. This is the beginning of the attempt to trick Manetto into believing that he has become Matteo. Throughout the rest of the novella, Manetto goes through several episodes that further convince him that he is now Matteo. He gets put in jail for Matteo’s debt and everyone there addresses him as th...


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...e how Manetto feels throughout the whole prank and how he is reacting and reasoning through his predicament at a given time. This gives the novella a psychological side that is not seen in Decameron. The last main difference is how the prank affects the one who is tricked. In the Boccaccio pranks, the victims are either not affected or get over it rather quickly. Contrastingly, in The Fat Woodworker, Manetto is incredibly hurt and travels to Hungary to fully heal the wound. It takes time and distance to help him fully come to terms with what had happened.
Though the trick in the Fat Woodworker is mean at times, it is not too excessive to make the reader feel bad for Manetto and keeps the story lighthearted. This novella is a great way to temporarily relieve stress with its comedic nature and the humorous way that Manetto reacts throughout the process of the trick.

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