The painful practical realities of seventeenth-century dentistry underpin the dramatic action of El médico de su honra. While a number of critics have used thematic evidence to argue whether King Pedro will have Coquín's teeth extracted, it should first be recognized that the king's threat to have all of Coquín's teeth extracted constitutes a death threat. The present study argues that the fates of Coquín and Mencía are intimately connected. In fact, they are so inextricably intertwined that after the apariencia of Mencía's bloody bed—a visual spectacle that resembles a bloody mouth—Coquín's death is no longer dramatically or thematically necessary. Mencía has bled to death in imitation of the same threat directed against Coquín. Reading the play from Gutierre's point of view, we recognize that Gutierre's fear of King Pedro's male teeth makes him turn against Mencía, a more vulnerable female target. In Gutierre's mind, Coquín and Mencía are allied, among other factors, by their less-than-masculine sexuality. King Pedro has threatened Coquín with death because of the clown's rampant expressiveness and its threat of disorder. Similarly, Gutierre arranges Mencía's murder in part out of a fear of her expressiveness and its inherent threat to male honor and male order.


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pp. 87-108
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