88 | A vivid literary gure, with many gapsinhisbiography,andprimarilyaconspiratorial letter found in 1938, are the reasonswhyMarin Držić is today seenby some as havingbeen a restless adventurer who was constantly chasingmoney, and as a rebel who fought for a more just world. The greatest representative of Dubrovnik’s Renaissance literature and one of the greatest comedy writers of the Yugoslav region, Držić was an adventurous spirit who was particularly talented at noticing social phenomena and relationships between people. Hisancestorswerenobleswhorelocated fromKotor toDubrovnik in the 12th centuryandspent thenext twocenturiesholding various functions in the city state’s civil service.However, the familywas left impoverishedat thebeginningof the16th century, which is most likely why the young Marin turnedtothecallingof thepriesthood.However, accordingtotheessenceof hisnature, Držićhadnothingincommonwiththepriesthood,andafterthefamily’s nancialcollapse in1538, withhelpgranted tohim, he headed to Siena to study. There Držić is presumed to have rst studied law, literature and philosophy, but hepreferredenjoyinghimselftostudying.He entertained his colleagues, becoming very popular, and was selected as the administratorof thestudentdormitory,whilstsimultaneously serving as the vice-chancellor of the entire Siena University. As the rebel that he was, he was punished at that time – admittedly only with a warning – for playing themain character in a banned play in a private home. FINANCIALLY POOR, SPIRITUALLY RICH It was at the beginning of 1545 that MarinreturnedtohisnativeDubrovnik, and didsowithout completinghis studies,without earning any title or diploma. Witty and always ready for jest, hebecamea favourite gure inhis city. Over thenext twentyyears –as longashe remained inDubrovnikDržić struggledwithdebtsandshortages, shifting between di erent poor paying jobs. However, thoseyears also represented themost fruitful periodof his literaryandtheatrecreation. Fortunately, itbecameclear thatDržić hadgeniuswithinhim, andthathewasborn to create masterpieces, with comedy and sarcasm as his weapons. Speci cally, Držić’s world of comedies comprises people from all walks of life, with peasants, servants, courtesans, traders and nobles. He placed ordinary people above the landed gentry on the social ladder, and presented reality as it truly is, always through sharp criticism and satire. Apart fromhis comedies eliciting laughs, he also ridiculed tasteless entertainment, in his Novela od Stanca, boastful soldiers, in Arkulin, abandoned young men and powerless fathers, in Uncle Maroje, and skin ints, in The Miser. He foundhis topics inhis everydayenvironment, but also inspiration for his characters, who are alive and thusmemorable. HE DAREN’T EVEN THINKOF DUBROVNIK Through his works, he expressed his complex attitude towards his hometown – heboth lovedandresentedDubrovnik.The city ismagical and idyllic, butalsoacitywith alimitedadministration, acityrunby“20crazy freaks”. AndDržićwantedtochange that. Due to his dissatisfaction with the social situation in Dubrovnik, particularly the workof theSenate, andhisdesire toresolve his material shortages, he became a conspirator. When he travelled to Florence in 1566, he sought the assistance of Cosimo I de’Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, in bringingdownthearistocraticgovernmentin Dubrovnik.Držićdesiredacoupagainst the Senate, afterwhichpowerwouldbeshared equallyby thegentryand thecitizenry, and inreturnMediciwouldhavethe lastword in thecity.Marindidn’t receivetheresponsehe hopedforandafter thishemovedtoVenice. There he became the chaplain of theVenetianArchdiocese, apositionhecontinuedto hold until his death in 1567. He was buried in the Basilica of Saints John and Paul. He died in a foreign country, never daring to considerreturningtohisbelovedDubrovnik. Five centuries on, Marin Držić remains the favouritesonofDubrovnik, thegreatest Renaissancewriter fromthisarea.Hisworks, whicharestill studied inschoolsandcolleges, as well as the institutions and events established in his honour, testify to the greatness of his creativeopus, which still lives on today. TAJNAVEZA SA LABUDOMSA EJVONA Iako je Vilijam Šekspir imao samo tri godine kada je Držić završio svoj vek u Veneciji i iako je Dundo Maroje napisan 13 godina pre nego što je Šekspir rođen, legenda kaže da je čuveni Labud sa Ejvona mogao da zna za Držićeva dela. Naime, jedan Marinov rođak se navodno preselio u London i tada je sa sobom poneo Držićeve komedije. Neki kažu da ih je prevodio Šekspiru, kome su postale inspiracija za San letnje noći . Mada je ova priča najverovatnije samo maštarija, zanimljiva je i sama pomisao da je Šekspir možda čitao ono što je napisao Marin Držić. SECRET RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SWAN OF AVON AlthoughWilliamShakespeare was only three years old when Držić succumbed inVenice, and although“UncleMaroje”was written 13 years before Shakespeare was even born, legend has it that the famous Swan of Avon could have known about Držić’s works. Namely, one of Marin’s cousin allegedlymoved to London and tbrought Držić’s comedies with him. Some say that they were translated by Shakespeare, for whom they became an inspiration for“AMidsummer Night’s Dream”. And although this story is probably just wishful thinking, the very idea that Shakespearemay have read what Marin Držić wrote is interesting nevertheless. iStock /LightFieldStudios