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is what provides the spice and the excitement in so many delicious extravaganzas . FOOTNOTE 1 Cf. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (Cork, 5th ed., 1963): "The Sacrament of Matrimony coincides materially with the contract of marriage. . . . The mutual declaration of will of the pair to be married (not the priestly blessing!) is the efficient cause of the Sacrament of Matrimony." (466) "The priest who as a representative of the Church confirms the consent of marriage and blesses the marriage, is only an official witness to the contraction of marriage and the minister of the accompanying ceremonies. The law of the Church provides, in exceptional cases, for the contraction of a valid marriage without the assistance of a priest." ( 468 )¿TODO ES VENTURA?: ALARCÓN'S FORTUNE PLAYS James A. Parr, University of Southern California When chance manifests itself in human affairs we frequently describe it as accident or coincidence or luck — good luck or bad luck. Alarcón uses the words ventura, azar, suerte and, of course, fortuna to mean chance or indetermmism . Three plays by our author treat this topic as a primary theme: Todo es ventura , La industria y la suerte, and Los favores del mundo. The titles are significant in themselves, especially that of the first mentioned because of the Weltanschauung it suggests. The "industria " of the second title means an attempt to discover laws of cause and effect in human relationships in order cynically to profit from such knowledge . At the end of the play, Arnesto expresses the notion that such laws are, in any case, subordinate to chance: "Pues ya he visto cuan en vano/ la suerte quise vencer/ con industria y con engaño,/ .... (III, xix)1 "Los favores del mundo" refers to the favors bestowed by Fortune's emissaries, apparently without rhyme or reason. In each of these plays several occurrences take place that indicate an absence of cause or design, or so it seems at least to the characters involved. Nevertheless, what appear to the characters to be coincidences are seen by the audience to be the consequences of two or more casual sequences independently initiated prior to the chance occurrence. For example, near the end of La industria y la suerte, during a scene which takes place in darkness, Doña Sol pretends to be Doña Blanca in order to receive Don Juan in her chamber. It is Arnesto, however, who appears in the guise of Don Juan, with the result that the two schemers of the play compromise each other, Arnesto thinking that Sol is Blanca, and Sol thinking that Arnesto is Juan. Each becomes the unsuspecting victim of both his and the other's machinations. The irony in such cases is apparent. The spectator naturally enjoys a privileged position and is able to perceive the causes behind certain effects that appear fortuitous to the characters. A preliminary paraphrasing of the text of Todo es ventura, the piece central to our discussion, should be helpful to those who may not be acquainted with the work. As the play opens, Tello is being dimissed by his master, not for insubordination or incompetence but because Don Enrique no longer has money with which to pay even his one remaining servant. His complaint ("Ya ha logrado/ la fortuna su intención,/ . . . ") in the opening scene suggests the perverseness of Dame Fortune. At one time Enrique enjoyed her favors, but 36 now she has spun her wheel to leave him dangHng from a lower spoke. The notion that Fortune seeks out persons on whom to bestow or from whom to withdraw her favors is reinforced by Tello's attitude in scene eight: (Ap. ¿Al fin tengo yo de ser vaHente por fuerza? Sí, vaya: ¿qué puedo arresgar? Quizá me viene a buscar la fortuna por aquí. ) Tello is by no means a brave man; yet, by force of circumstance, he is twice taken to be one in the first act. In scene eight his luck has it that his fright is interpreted to be rash bravery. Similarly, at the end of the first act, when he brings what is almost certainly bad news to his new master, the Duke, he is told...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-0928
Print ISSN
0007-5108
Pages
pp. 36-40
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-08
Open Access
No
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