The publication of Teresa Soufas's anthology Women's Acts: Plays by Women Dramatists of Spain's Golden Age (1997) and her seminal work Dramas of Distinction (1997) have brought the works of five early modern women playwrights into the mainstream of Spanish Golden Age studies. This study focuses specifically on the Portuguese-born Angela de Azevedo's El muerto disimulado, written between 1621 and 1644, during the author's period of court service to Queen Isabela de Borbón. Her comedia affords Hispanists the opportunity to explore the construction and function of counter-discourses that clearly challenge the socio-cultural views of seventeenth-century Spain. My analysis examines the unique ways in which Azevedo creates what has been called "symbolic inversion." Azevedo constructs symbolic inversions in order to respond to the dominant discourses on womanhood, honor, vengeance, and marriage present in the dramatic works of her contemporaries by refiguring traditional comedia types while positioning them on familiar thematic ground. El muerto disimulado follows the traditional structure and content of plays penned by Azevedo's literary forefathers. In addition, typical comedia types are represented in this work, as well as the controversial cross-dressed male character. It is my contention that Azevedo breaks through the silence imposed on women writers by rearticulating gender specific roles and inverting social stereotypes in order to voice her ideological position, which simultaneously breaks with audience and reader expectations and comedia conventions. (DM-G)


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pp. 147-163
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