This play is classically-influenced comedy by the famous (or infamous)
author of THE PRINCE. It is based upon a play by the Roman comedic
writer Plautus, which in turn was based on a lost Greek play by the
Greek comedic writer Diphilus.
An old man has raised a young girl from childhood, but he has fallen in
love (or lust) with her, and come up with a scheme to have one of his
loyal servants to marry her, (but allow him, the old master, to have
sexual access to the girl at will). The old man's son is also madly in
love with the girl. At the start of the play, the son, Cleandro, is
outlining the situation to his friend. He plans to marry the girl to a
family servant loyal to him, since his family would disown and
disinherit him for marrying a girl of the servant class.
The old man and his wife argue and fight over their plans; they also
threaten the poor servants. Cleandro eavesdrops on his father and Pino
planning to spend the wedding night in bed with Clizia (the girl)
successively, at the neighbor's house. He goes and tells his mother,
and they figure out a way to put an end to the old man's plans. They
draw lots to see who will marry Clizia, and Pino (the old man's
favorite) wins, at first. Instead of Clizia, however, they send a young
boy servant, who pretends to be her. Old Niconiaso is so humiliated at
finding himself in bed with a boy, he gives in totally to his wife,
begging only that nobody will know it ever happened. Cleandro is still
frustrated because his mother wants a socially "good" marriage for him.
But the Doctor (their neighbor) comes back and announces that Clizia'a
real father has come to town to find her (he is a rich gentleman). So
Cleandro and Clizia can marry, and all ends happily.
In this play, the title character, and heroine, never appears on stage.