In Andrés de Claramonte's La infelice Dorotea, an understanding of an astrological prediction and of the characters' reaction to it is essential in elucidating the play's theme of fortune as well as in analyzing the workings of poetic justice. While insufficient detail precludes an accurate rendering of the horoscope, the fundamental planetary configuration—Saturn in opposition to Mars—does not bode well for the heroine. Her fiancé, with the help of a Moor (a people known for their scientific knowledge), interprets the sign as a prophecy that the woman will die by her husband's hand. Though the engagement is postponed, the man who eventually marries the woman is later informed of the prediction, ignores it, yet at the end of Act III murders his wife. If the play does present the prophecy as fulfilled, the playwright comes perilously close to heresy by dramatizing a prediction that excludes the possibility of Grace through Divine Providence. However, both the heroine's and her husband's attitude toward the prediction is one of resignation and blind acceptance. The prediction is fulfilled, then, as a punishment for having forsaken the Grace of God.


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pp. 215-223
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