Metatheater has been the focus of many studies since Lionel Abel's work published in 1963. O'Connor and Hornby have broadened Abel's definition of metatheater. Lope de Vega's El divino africano deals with the life and conversion of St. Augustine and involves the use of metadramatic techniques as described by Hornby. In the play, there are three different levels of staging to produce three levels of drama, and through their juxtaposition the public is aware of the "higher" drama intruded into the historical action to perceive the truth behind the mystery. Lope's El divino africano dramatizes the eventual triumph of the spirit over the flesh contained in the essential message of St. Augustine's Confessions.