Modern critics have paid little attention to Lope de Vega's play, La reina Juana de Nápoles (1597-1603). Aesthetically, it has been viewed as one of Lope's inferior works. This essay considers Lope's play from an ideological standpoint. The analysis shows that the value of this work lies in its representation of a broad range of political and gender issues. The play explores the complexity and the paradoxes inherent in the marginal position held by a woman in power in a society in which power is essentially a male privilege. This topic would have been significant to Lope and his contemporaries owing to past and present historical examples of women in power. By evoking the historical figures of Elizabeth I of England, Isabel la Católica, and Joan I of Anjou, queen of Naples, La reina Juana de Nápoles alludes to proximal and past events in Spanish history. At the same time, the play participates in the ongoing debate of its time on the legitimacy of the presence of women in positions of power.


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pp. 45-59
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