From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Theatre (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of WikiProject Theatre, a WikiProject dedicated to coverage of theatre on Wikipedia.
To participate: Feel free to edit the article attached to this page, join up at the project page, or contribute to the project discussion.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Fictional characters (Rated C-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Fictional characters, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of fictional characters on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.

Other meanings[edit]

Great work clarifying the sources and information. I wonder if you could add under The Name all of the different spellings and uses of the name and where it is derived from. I noticed some on there, but I know there are a few more you can mention! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lestone1 (talkcontribs) 22:17, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

Paul, was this you?

-Ben 15:43, 25 February 2002 User:Benwbrum

The Harlequin link needs to be a disambiguation page between various uses, such as:

  • Arlecchino
  • The US romance publisher
  • [[1]] - The international software company

14:50, 5 March 2004 User:Bovlb

page move[edit]

  • As a consequence HarlequinHarlequin (disambiguation)); This is English Wikipedia and as per MoS the common English name should be used. The Harlequin character deserves primary topic disambiguation as it is the original from which all of the subsequent items on the disambiguation pages are derived. Jooler 01:49, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
  • I agree. Smerdis of Tlön 05:15, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Agree with proposed move. Most of the things at Harlequin (disambiguation) are named after the character. Grinner 10:30, 12 December 2005 (UTC)


Moved. WhiteNight T | @ | C 23:28, 28 December 2005 (UTC)


I can understand why the Italian and French words for harlequin are listed (as the English word comes from the Italian through the French) but why the German and Portuguese words? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:20, 11 December 2006 (UTC).

Sorry, not too good at posting on Wikipedia and actually just have a question which is kind of related to this - in Dr. W. Wagner's "Asgard & The Gods" he mentions that the Norse goddess, Hel, was reputed as appearing thus: "One side of her face was of corpse-like pallor, and the other was as dark as the grave" (p. 53) Also, he cites that part of the "Raging Host" (associated with concept of the "Wild Hunt") was called, in France, "Mesnie Hellequin" for hunters from hell(p. 78). Anyway, not sure how well Dr. Wagner's study has stood the test of time (he wrote this late 19th century) and whether his scholarship has been refuted or not, but wanted to know if this should be mentioned somewhere if it's true.

Harley Quinn appears twice[edit]

"In today's culture, harlequins are seen quite often, especially in the New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations. Harlequins frequently appear in pop culture, such as Harley Quinn from the Batman series and Harle from Square Enix's game Chrono Cross."

"In the comic book version representing Batman and the Justice League (either together or seperately), a female assistant wearing a jester costume is sometimes given to the Joker. She is known as Harley Quinn."

I think this needs to be fixed, but I am not sure which one to delete/edit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by RoyalFool (talkcontribs) 23:31, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

The recent revamp[edit]

Okay, I think this page maybe needs to be completely rewritten. The current version of the page is nothing but a list of pop culture references and has completely deleted all references to the characters origin and function in the commedia dell'arte, which I would daresay are kind of important, especially since all the other major commedia characters have their own pages describing their uses, histories and characterizations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:59, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

The information that you want is in page Commedia dell'arte, which I have now linked to. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 05:58, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
That's not quite what my objection was. All the other Commedia charcaters have their own pages (Brighella, Capitano, etc.) Harlequin needs, and used to have, his right here. It's really bizarre and irritating that all the info went away for no apparent reason. This information that replaced it isn't exactly superior.
Also, that Duchartre citation at the bottom needs to go, in the present state.-- (talk) 08:12, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
I'd have to agree that the current page, as is, is little more than a list of sightings. Information on the character itself should also be included here. ~ Brother William (talk) 05:25, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
  • The current format is clear. Changing it into essay format would merely make it harder to look for any one piece of information. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 05:36, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
There remains a great deal of overlap between the main article, which doesn't actually tell me very much, and the disambiguation page. As you don't seem to like my efforts, perhaps somebody else would like to have a go at sorting it out.Hethurs (talk) 21:54, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

I came here looking for information about Harlequin. What is the main traits of this character that pops up everywhere, where does he come from (cinema? folklore? books? theater?) and WHY O WHY does he have those weird clothes? . . This page gave me the answer that he is from "the Italian Commedia dell'Arte" and nothing else was answered here. . . (Yes a clicktrough to the Commedia dell'Arte page gives me some more info but that info should be on THIS page instead!. This page totally needs a revamp with more info. (talk) 17:01, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Someone decided it was a good idea to destroy previous work on the article, leaving only references to modern culture (a collection of trivia). I found the last version before the vandalism, which is [2]. Using this version, I will restore the deleted content. Maybe some of that content is wrong, but the deletion was certainly vandalism. Therefore I am reverting it.--FocalPoint (talk) 18:50, 20 March 2009 (UTC)


  • Re the etymology theory "From the term Hellequin, which is said to originate as middle age French for "the devil's horseman""; this theory may have been around for a long time, but is it genuine, or is it a false etymology invented in former centuries by Church priests trying to show that "the theater (and all other secular entertainment) is sinful and comes from the Devil"? Anthony Appleyard (talk) 06:10, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

all this throwing around of unreferenced "hypotheses" needs to stop. The only verifiable pedigree of the name is Old French Hellequin, leader of the medieval French version of the Wild Hunt. The etymology of Hellequin (variants Helething, Herlequin) itself is another question. I have seen both "hari+thing" (!, so in Schmitt 1999, p. 100) and OHG (H)ellechin(n)o "little devil". More references on this are needed.

I also have serious doubts that English Herla derives from the Old English period. It is infinitely more likely that Herla king is just the 11th or 12th century Anglo-Norman corruption of OF Hellequin. --dab (𒁳) 17:50, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

From What I've been seeing on the page and the research I've done so far I'm going to omitt the mention of "Alicchino" and Dante's Inferno since there is no relaible source that explicitly makes a connection.--WillFri (talk) 22:17, 20 November 2016 (UTC)--I've gone back and checked out several more sources that I'm citing on the page and there does seem to be some more evidence for Dante's devil's to possibly have some influence if not some surface level similiarties to the Harlequin. I'll just be expanding on the subject a bit. WillFri (talk) 20:47, 9 December 2016 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I propose that Hellequin be merged into Harlequin. I think that the content in the Hellequin article can easily be explained in the context of Harlequin, and the Harlequin article is of a reasonable size in which the merging of Hellequin will not cause any problems as far as article size or undue weight is concerned. It should also be an chance to add references about Hellequin Bikepunk2 (talk) 14:24, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

I encourage you to just do it, at least in obvious cases like this one. Merging substubs into their main articles is standard maintenance work, not something that should be "proposed" or "discussed", simply because there is no conceivable reason to object: whoever is opposed to such mergers places the burden on themselves to expand the stub so it can stand on its own. --dab (𒁳) 08:04, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

Ok, I'll try to get find out some references and merge it in the coming days if no one disagree untill then. Bikepunk2 (talk) 19:02, 17 June 2011 (UTC)
I've just performed the merging. Bikepunk2 (talk) 13:56, 6 July 2011 (UTC)


This does not read well. Many errors, generally consistent with the bad habits of Eastern European non-native English speakers, e.g., omitted indefinite articles abound.

The entry really just needs a rewrite, with special attention paid to its focus and the relevance of its parts. e.g. in "Others attribute the name to Dante's Inferno, XXI, XXII and XXIII; one of the devils in Hell having the name Alichino," is it really necessary to cite each chapter in which the character Alichino appears? Does anyone actually attribute the name 'harlequin' this way, "see Dante, chapter XXI & XXII & &XXIII"? I have to believe they don't. They attribute it to Dante simply, or else they cite its first appearance in Dante, and leave it go.

Examples of the idiocy:

Idries Shah has claimed that Harlequin be of Sufi origins

Shah argues that the Arabic name aghlaq - which was given to such sufi masters - with plural form "aghlaqueen" pronounced with the guttural gh- as the Spanish jota, would have given the word Harlequin. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:30, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Connection with Francis of Assisi?[edit]

As far as I can tell this article should have nothing to do with Francis of Assisi, so why is there a picture of his jacket? Just something I noticed. I'd remove it if I could remember my login credentials and I'm not a big fan of anonymous removal of content.-- (talk) 13:50, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Looks like some editor is trying to link Harlequin with Sufism. They are using obscure references such as St Francis' clothes. Likely no point fighting this one.... (talk) 02:04, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

the "Sufi" aghlaq connection is absolute bogus. Apparently suggested by one guy, a Sufi expert, back in 1999. Of course a Sufi expert is going to see Sufis everywhere, even in areas where he has not even the remotest clue.
as it turns out, the hellequin "Wild Hunt" etymology is universally accepted and completely plausible. There is simply no reason to preset it as anything less than expert consensus. Assorted fringe proposals with no merit can be argued over within WP:DUE, but they certainly have to be presented for what they are. Seeing that this was aggressively pushed with no rhyme or reason, I am tempted to argue that it should be taken out completely. --dab (𒁳) 21:06, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
turns out that derivation from herlequin, hellequin, the leader of the Wild Hunt in France since at least the 12th century, is completely undisputed. The chequered costume came 400 years after the name. Shah clearly has no idea what he is talking about, and didn't even bother to review the evidence, he is just throwing around Sufi terms that sound vaguely like other terms and calls that a "hypothesis". This probably isn't worth even mentioning (WP:UNDUE), or if it is mentioned, it will have to be exposed as the nonsense it is.
yes, the etymology of herlequin is in turn open to debate. But this is not now about the name of a sympathetic stage character in a chequered costume, it is about the name of a demon or devil leading a troop of nocturnal spirits. If anyone wants to argue for a Sufi connection with that, I'm all ears. Back in the real world, the name is cognate with Herle king and/or Erlkönig and either meant "king of the elves" or "king of the host".
regarding "aghlaq", this is completely contrived. I am happy to take Shah's word for it that "The name given the silent teacher who performed strange movements, incidentally, was aghlaq (plural aghlaqin)".[3] However, note the complete lack of occurrence of such a term in any popular account of Sufism. Arabic aghlaq (from a root غلق "shut, barred") rather means "wooden shutter" or similar, i.e. some part of a door[4]. Shah himself states that this supposed term for a "silent teacher" was a kind of pun on a term for "great door". This is interesting, and it would be nice to see some sort of reference for it, in the context of Sufism. The only source that comes up in google is Shah's own claim, and he conveniently fails to give any pointer to further references, or even bothers to indicate the actual spelling of the word in close transliteration (might it be اغلق? I take it that aghlaq al-bab, min fadlik simply means "sorry, we are closed". No sufis under this search term. Perhaps اغلاق? See for yourself.). How an extremely obscure title of a Sufi master would have ended up (in its plural) on the Italian stage is anyone's guess. Perhaps we can make an argument that the Harlequin was used to turn away people when the theater was closed, so he came to be known by the Arabic for "sorry, we are closed" for some reason? This isn't scholarship, it is just idle brain-storming on similar-sounding words in print. --dab (𒁳) 10:21, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

Origin of the character (brief version)[edit]

It becomes even more simple if one simply consults literature by actual historians, esp. on history of comedy. It turns out it is known that the name Arlequin was picked by the actor Tristano Martinelli of Bergamo for his zanno character. He went on to become extremely successful in Paris, and a favourite of the French king, giving immortality to the character he created. He took the name explictly from the "popular French devil" because a resemblance to his own character. By the time of Martinelli's death in 1630, the Arlequin character had become stock and continued to be interpreted by other actors.

Any further discussion of the name Arlequin does not concern the Harlequin character but will be a question of the history of the "devil" character in medieval French passion plays. --dab (𒁳) 11:21, 19 December 2013 (UTC)