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Contra mi padre pretendo tomar armas y sacar verdaderos a los cielos; presto he de verle a mis plantas. Act III, lines 2377-82. (ed. A. E. Sloman, Manchester Univ. Press, reprinted, 1965) 5 This point, of course, has been made repeatedly by earlier critics. See A. A. Parker: 'The Father-Son Conflict in the Drama of Calderón', FMLS, 2 (1966), 99-113, and also the articles by Wilson and Sloman mentioned in note 1. While the above critics have stressed Segismundo's self-denial, my intention is to show that it is only one element (albeit the most important) in the final situation . 6 Thus the burlas incident of Segismundo's attempt to take Estrella's hand in the palacescene (II, 1404-9) — burlas because his action is motivated by lust — becomes the veras of his marriage to her out of a sense of duty. This use of figurai motifs is, of course, a standard dramatic device: cf., e.g., Inés' declared intention to enter a convent, in Lope's El caballero de Olmedo, and, more disturbing, Mendo's imaginary plan to send Isabel to a convent when he is tired of her, in Calderón's El alcalde de Zalamea. 7As Professor Deyermond has mentioned to me, the ending can be seen schematically as a set of parallels which reinforce the theme of duty triumphing over inclination, thus: Basilio initially wants to punish the rebels, but does not in the end. Segismundo, intent on being merciful, has to punish the soldier. Astolfo, wishing to marry Estrella, does not; not wanting to marry Rosaura, he does. Segismundo wants to marry Rosaura, but does not; he does not want to marry Estrella, but finally does so. 8 D. Charters, in 'Structure and Imagery in Three Plays by Calderón. I. La vida es sueño', unpublished Ph.D. examination dissertation (Indiana University, 1970), has rightly drawn attention to the fact that the imprisonment of the soldier, who represents pride and rebelliousness , constitutes Segismundo's symbolic rejection of these sins. I am grateful to Professor J. E. Varey for drawing my attention to this study. Charters, of course, is here spelling out what has been stated by J. Casalduero in his article: 'Sentido y forma de La vida es sueño', reprinted in Estudios sobre el teatro español (Madrid, 1962). As Professor Deyermond has pointed out to me, the order of priorities in the soldier's final speech (III, 3293-7: revolt, rescue of Segismundo ) is the reversal of the order in his initial speech (III, 2276-2305: rescue of Segismundo, revolt). A chiasmus is formed by the parallel change in Segismundo's motives , from rebellion for his own rights (III, 2373-82) to rebellion in order to restore Rosaura 's lost honour (III, 2989-91). 9 La vida es sueño seems to me to be a very good example of the kind of play E. Bentìey must have had in mind when discussing the form of tragi-comedy which he describes as tragedy transcended. See his The Life of the Drama (London, 1965), chapter 10. 10The view presented in this article was first evolved for an undergraduate and postgraduate seminar at Westfield College in 1967-8. I am indebted to the members of the seminar for helping me subsequently to formulate my points more clearly, and especially to Professors I. E. Varey and A. D. Deyermond for kind and constructive criticism and a number of valuable suggestions. FURTHER TESTIMONY IN THE REBEL SOLDIER CASE Eileen M. Connolly, Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara The rebel soldier, imprisoned in the tower by Segismundo at the close of Calderón's La vida es sueño, has now received his day in court. Since his defense by Professor Hall1 and the counter-defense of poetic justice by Professor Parker2 have opened the serious questions of Segismundo's character and the meaning of the work as intended by its author, I trust I may be forgiven for offering further testimony in the case. Professor Hall has argued that Segismundo , far from being a perfect prince at the end of the play, is a Machiavellian character, who used the rebel...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-0928
Print ISSN
0007-5108
Pages
pp. 11-15
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-08
Open Access
No
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