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thing more than a paragon of virtue. His Old Testament heroines are humans in whom we may recognize our own failings and aspirations in a world of reality and imperfection. 1 Obras de Lope de Vega, ed. Acad., III. 2E! robo de Dina. -1La corona derribada y vara de Moisés. 4La historia de Tobías. ''Los trabajos de Jacob.«See Chapters XXI to XXXIV of the Book of Genesis. 7La hermosa Ester. Modern Echoes Of Lope de Vega's El Casamiento en La Muerte By Richard W. Tyler University of Texas In El casamiento en la muerte, Bernardo del Carpio is distressed at his illegitimacy, which his uncle, King Alfonso, "El Casto," has deliberately not remedied, lest Bernardo become qualified to succeed him. By saving Alfonso from a bear during a hunt, Bernardo persudaes the King to change his mind. Then he hurries to free his imprisoned father, D. Sancho Díaz, only to find that D. Sancho has died three days earlier. Bernardo thereupon brings his mother, Da. Jimena, from the convent where she has been living. He has her join hands with D. Sancho, and state that she is marrying him; after which Bernardo moves D. Sancho's head in an answering nod of assent. Having thus made himself legitimate, Bernardo prepares for D. Sancho's burial, and for Da. Jimena's return to her convent. Even while granting a marked difference in circumstances, it is interesting to note some recent occurrences —all in the Orient—that resemble Lope's episode to a greater or lesser extent. In any case, all have the basic feature: the marriage after death. The most similar of these happenings was in Formosa, some four years ago: A wedding ceremony was held today for two lovers who drowned themselves four days ago because their parents would not let them marry. Ushers supported the bodies of Chen-Wu-Chi, 20, and Miss Tsai Chao-Tze, 18, and made them bow to each other. A Taoist priest officiated at the "ghost marriage," to which the grieving parents consented. The lovers were buried in the same grave.1 The second case, only last year, occurred in Japan, and came about when the "bride" committed suicide after her lover was killed while working on a tanker. Her suicide note expressed the hope that the couple might be "married in Heaven," and to this end her parents sought to have her picture buried in her lover's grave in West Berlin.2 A much greater passage of time marks the third instance, reported from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the beginning of 1963. In this strange affair , the Chinese lovers, unacquainted in life, are said to have met and fallen in love in Heaven, both having died over twenty years ago. Other interesting details are as follows: [The bride's parents] sent a dowry of clothing and jewelry— to the parents of the groom. At the ceremony [again, Taoist ] the bridal couple will be represented by two paper dolls. The dolls will be burned together later in a miniature bridal chamber made of paper. The names of the bride and groom were written on two pieces of paper which were "framed to denote their engagement ."3 13 Also of interest is the following: The posthumous marriage . . . was fairly common in China. It occurred most often in the case of chih-fu, or the marriage of unborn children. Two friends would decide that their children would eventually marry each other. Frequently, if one of the two children died before reaching marriageable age, it was married to the surviving partner posthumously . In case of the bridegroom surviving this was a mere matter of form. The polygamic system allowed him to marry one or more other wives, but in the family register the dead childbride remained recorded as the one and only First Wife.4 There appears to be some precedent for at least two of the Oriental posthumous marriages;5 but as far as the one in El casamiento en la muerte is concerned, it is believed that Lope invented it.e In any case, the idea of suicide, so prominent in the Oriental episodes, would presumably be all but...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-0928
Print ISSN
0007-5108
Pages
pp. 13-15
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-08
Open Access
No
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