restricted access The Perseus Myth as Defined by Calderón and Corneille
Abstract

That myths are capable of multiple uses and interpretation is demonstrated by two palace plays based on the same Ovid story of Perseus. Corneille's Andromède and Calderón's Las fortunas de Andrómeda y Perseo are entirely different in their affective impact. Corneille's play celebrates Perseus as heroic bridegroom; Calderón celebrates him as heroic saviour. The reason for such a divergence in interpretation and style can be partly explained by the basic difference between two concepts of romance. While Corneille uses romance in a limited sense, as adventure dependent on love interest (with social values as a strong obstacle), Calderón makes full use of the romance quest as defined by Northrop Frye. This makes it possible for Calderón to use the monster, for instance, not only poetically but dramatically, while Corneille is obviously bothered by the monster's incredibility. While Corneille's play is no more than a palace entertainment, Calderón succeeds in preserving, re-expressed for a Christian audience, the universal significance and dramatic impact of the Greek myth. (MH)


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