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Commedia dell'Arte: The Masks of Antonio Fava
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Bravazzo

Description

The name of the mask: Bravazzo. "Azzo" is a suffix that augments (and also denigrates) the root of the name: "Bravo". Courageous, proud, uncommon behavior is "Bravo." A "bravata" is a gesture that has "bravo" but is often used to describe a senseless or gratuitous act of violence though not necessarily a criminal act.

In the past, the term, Bravazzo, was associated with mercenaries who performed military or dirty deeds for lords. At present, the term "bravo" is a positive adjective and is now used as a compliment to someone who has performed well in any discipline or career. It's a clear derivation of "bravo" - someone who doesn't miss a beat: "un bravo cantante" (a great singer), "un bravo attore" (a great actor), "un bravo studente" (a great student). In Commedia the "bravo" is the Capitano (in this case Bravazzo). He is a braggart, blowhard par excellence: the suffix "azzo" accentuates this meaning.