The dramatic action of Calderón's Eco y Narciso revolves around a prophecy, in which the seer Tiresias predicts Narciso's downfall. Although the main characters of the play believe that they fully understand the terms of the prophecy and try to prevent Narciso's doom, their attempts are unsuccessful, and the hero meets his predicted tragic fate. Tiresias' prophetic utterance, a key element of characterization, structure, theme, and plot of this comedia, highlights the importance of communicative patterns in Eco y Narciso. The deceivingly straightforward language of the prophecy proves to be more ambiguous than any character initially assumes. The enigmatic signs of «voice» and «beauty,» the basic components of the prophecy, defy attempts to determine their absolute meaning. The action of Eco y Narciso exposes the ambiguous nature of these signs and precludes definitive interpretations of the elusive prophecy. This ambiguity underscores the thematic and artistic richness of Calderón's mythological comedia. (DD)


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pp. 129-144
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