Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Marin Drzic

Marin Drzic (1508-1567) is considered the finest Croatian Renaissance playwright and prose writer.


Born into well to do numerous family (he got 6 sisters and 5 brothers) in Dubrovnik, Držić was trained and ordained as a priest- a calling very unsuitable for his Rabelaisian temperament. After being ordained in 1526, Držić was sent to Siena in Tuscany to study the Church canon law, where he didn't excell in studies, but, thanks to his extravert and warm personality, captured the hearts of his fellow students and professors and was elected to the position of rector of the University. However, having lost interest in studies, Držić had returned to Dubrovnik in 1543. Here he became an acquaintance of Austrian adventurer Christoph Rogendorf, then at odds with Vienna court. After a brief sojourn in Vienna, Držić came back to his native city. Other vagabond exploits followed (reunion with Rogendorf, connection with a group of Dubrovnik outlaws, journey to Constantinople and a brief trip to Venice). Finally, after a career of interpreter, scrivener and church musician, Držić has succeeded to become also a conspirator: convinced that Dubrovnik was governed by a small circle of elitist aristocracy bent to tyranny, he tried to persuade, in extremely interesting five letters, the powerful Medici family in Florence to help him overthrow the government in his home town. The Medicis didn't even bother to respond him. After this disappointment, Držić's life trajectory is not easy to follow: all we know is that he died in Venice in 1567, where he was buried in the St. John and Paul Church. Držić had been 59 at the time of his death.


Držić's works cover many fields: lyric poetry, pastorals, political letters and pamphlets and comedies. While his pastorals ("Tirena"; "Venara i Adonis"/Venus and Adonis) are still highly regarded as masterful examples of the genre, the pastoral has, as artistic form, virtually vanished from the scene. On the contrary, his comedies are among the best in the Renaissance European literature. Similarly to other great comedy writers like Lope de Vega or Ben Jonson, Držić's comedies are rammed with exuberant life and vitality, celebrating love, liberty and sincerity and mocking avarice, egoism and petty tyrants- both in family and in state. His best comedies include "Dundo Maroje", "Skup"/The Miser, "Novela od Stanca"/Story on Stanac, "Pomet". The gallery of young lovers, misers, cuckolds, adventurers, senile tyrants, painted with the gusto of buoyant idiom that exemplifies richness of the Croatian language in the Renaissance period has remained the pillar of Croatian high comedy theatre ever since.