Zanni (from the Italian dialectal nickname for Giovanni) can refer to either the archetype comic servant of the "
Commedia dell'arte" or various stereotypical servant characters of the same genre.
"Zanni" is the origin for the English word "zany".
The character of Zanni was an older, impoverished man and hired servant of one of the other characters, typically
Zanni's costume was loosely fitting white smock and pants. He wore a black mask similar to his more popular descendant,
Arlecchino. His behavior is a cartoon imitation of the impoverished rural folk of Bergamowho were forced to move to Venicein order to make a living. As such, his interests do not always coincide with those of his master. His primary goals are his own comfort and the satisfaction of various immediate desires.
Other "Zanni" Characters
In later periods the character fell into disuse and the word "zanni" came to mean the whole category of comic servant characters. However, the term "zanni" was not used in this manner in
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