Italy literature summaries - 2023
Short summary - Filumena Marturano
Eduardo De Filippo
The action takes place in Naples in the rich house of the fifty-two-year-old Don Domenico Soriano, a successful businessman. In the room are Don Domenico himself, Donna Filumena Marturano, the woman with whom he has lived for the past twenty years, Donna Rosalia Solimene, an old woman of seventy-five who shared the most sorrowful moments in Filumena's life, and Alfredo Amoroso, Don Domenico's elderly servant. Once Don Domenico took Filumena to him from the lowest strata of Neapolitan society; at that time she worked in a brothel. After the death of his wife, after two years of their acquaintance, Filumena hoped that Don Domenico would marry her, but this did not happen. So she lived in his house with Rosalia Solimene as a half-lover, half-slave, and besides, she checked the work of his factories and shops, while the owner himself had fun in London and Paris, at the races and with women. Finally, Filumena decided to put an end to her disenfranchised position: she pretended to be terribly ill, that she was in death throes, called the priest supposedly for the last communion, and then asked Don Domenico to fulfill the wish of the dying woman and allow her, on her deathbed, to be combined with him in bonds marriage. As soon as Don Domenico complied with her request, Filumena immediately jumped out of bed in good health and announced to him that they were now husband and wife. Don Domenico realized that he had fallen for her bait and was completely in her power. Now he is furious and promises that he will spare neither money nor strength to destroy and crush the insidious.
During an angry squabble, Filumena accuses Domenico of always treating her low, and even when he thought that she was dying, at her own bedside, he kissed some girl whom he brought into the house under the guise of a nurse. At the end of her accusatory speech, Filumena declares that she has three sons, whom Domenico does not know about, and in order to raise them, she often stole money from him, and now she will ensure that they will also bear the surname Soriano. Domenico and Alfredo are stunned. Rosalia had known about this for a long time. Filumena asks Domenico not to be too frightened, for the children are not his and are already adults. She often sees them, but the sons do not know that she is their mother. One of them became a plumber with her help, he has his own workshop, he is married and has four children. The second, his name is Riccardo, runs a men's underwear shop; the third, Umberto, became an accountant and even writes stories for the newspaper.
Alfredo confusedly reports that the waiters from the restaurant came and brought the dinner that Domenico ordered in the morning, he thought that by the evening he would become a widower and be able to have fun with young Diana, just the one with whom he kissed at the bedside of the "dying" Filumena. Soon Diana herself appears. She is cutesy elegant and looks down on everyone. At first, she does not notice Filumena, chatting about her plans, but when she sees her, she gets up and backs away, Filumena treats her rather abruptly and escorts her out. Domenico swears that while he is alive, the feet of the sons of Filumena will not be in his house, but she is sure that he did it in vain, because she knows that she will not be able to keep her word; Someday, if he doesn't want to die damned, he'll have to beg, she's got alms. Domenico does not believe her and continues to threaten to kill her.
The next day, Alfredo, who had been sitting all night next to Don Domenico at the parapet of the monument to Caracciolo, coughs and asks the maid Lucia to bring him coffee. While he is waiting, Rosalia comes out of Filumena's room. She must, on behalf of her mistress, send three letters. Alfredo tries to find out to whom they are addressed, but Rosalia strictly keeps a trusted secret. Returning from the street, Don Domenico himself drinks the coffee intended for Alfredo, much to the displeasure of his servant. Soon Filumena comes out of the bedroom and orders to prepare two rooms for her two single sons. A married man remains to live where he lived before. Lucia has to move to the kitchen with all her things.
While the women are busy preparing, Diana and lawyer Nocella enter the house. They wish to speak with Don Domenico, and all three of them retire to the owner's office. Meanwhile Umberto, one of Filumena's sons, comes into the dining room and writes something. Riccardo, who appeared after him, does not pay the slightest attention to him and immediately begins to flirt with Lucia. Michele, the third son, enters last. Riccardo behaves rather defiantly; his demeanor leads to the fact that Michele is forced to fight him. Umberto tries to separate them. Behind this brawl, Filumen finds them. She wants to have a serious talk with them, but this is prevented by the intrusion of a pleased Domenico, Diana and a lawyer. Lawyer Nocella explains to Filumena that her act was illegal and that she has no rights to Don Domenico. Filumena believes the lawyer's words, but calls three young people from the terrace, tells them about her life and admits that she is their mother. All three are very excited. Michele is glad that his children have a grandmother, about whom they have been asking for so long. Since Filumena is about to leave Don Domenico's house, he invites her to move in with him. She agrees, but asks her sons to wait for her downstairs.
Left alone with Domenico, she informs him that one of these young men is his son. She refuses to say which one. He does not believe her, being convinced that if she ever had a child from him, she would definitely take advantage of this to marry him to herself. Filumena replies that if he knew about the alleged child, he would have forced him to kill. Now if his son is alive, it is only her merit. Finally, she warns Domenico that if the children find out that he is the father of one of them, she will kill him. Ten months after the previous events, Don Domenico, who managed to divorce Filumena, is now really going to marry her. During this time he has changed a lot. There are no more commanding intonations or gestures. He became soft, almost submissive.
The three sons of Filumena, who came to her wedding, appear in the room. While their mother is gone, Domenico talks with them, trying to determine from their behavior and habits which of them is his son. However, it is difficult for him to make a choice, because all of them, like him, like girls, but none of them can sing, although Domenico himself In his youth, gathering with friends, he loved to sing, then serenades were in fashion, Filumena comes out of his room ; she is in a wedding dress, very pretty and looks rejuvenated. Domenico asks the young people, together with Rosalia, to go to the dining room and have something to drink, and he resumes a conversation with the bride on a topic that has long tormented him: he is interested in which of the three is his son. He asks her for "alms", which was predicted by Filumena.
All these ten months he came to her, to Michele's house, and tried to talk to her, but he was always answered that Filumena was not at home, until, finally, he came and asked her to marry him, because he understood that loves her and cannot live without her. Now, before the wedding, he wants to know the truth. Filumena arranges a test for Domenico: first, she confesses that his son is Michele, a plumber. Domenico immediately tries to come up with something that could improve his son's life. Then she assures him that his son is Riccardo, and then she admits that it is Umberto, but she does not tell the truth. She proved to him that if Domenico finds out who his real son is, she will single him out and love him more, and the rest will suffer or even kill each other. Their family gained fullness too late, and now it must be valued and protected. Domenico agrees with Filumena and admits that children are children, no matter whose they are, this is a great happiness; let everything remain the same and everyone go their own way. After the marriage ceremony, Domenico promises the young people that he will love them equally strongly, and beams with happiness when all three, saying goodbye, call him dad.