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6 Covarrubias, Tesoro . . . , "La flor del naranjo o limón; unos dizen que vale tanto como Venus, otros que vale flor . . . puede llamarse la estrella de Venus zahar por ser tan resplandesciente, y las flores de la primavera por su hermosura. . . (p. 172) 7 Diccionario de la lengua española, Real Academia Española (Madrid, 1956), p. 887. ^fS «7^V ANOTHER LOOK AT CALDERÓN'S EL PRINCIPE CONSTANTE María Norval, University of Washington In his article "The Figure of Fénix in Calderón's EL PRINCIPE CONSTANTE "' the late Leo Spitzer proposes a novel idea, that of a love relationship between Fénix and the Constant Prince himself. What sort of love is this, which has escaped the critics heretofore? According to Spitzer it is an "erotic bond" (page 154) between the two which can be discerned in the famous sonnet scene of the second act.2 The scene opens as Fénix is worrying aloud about the prophecy she has heard. She says: "¿Que al fin de un muerto he de ser? ¿Quién será este muerto?" (lines 650-651). Whereupon don Fernando appears and says "Yo." Of this coup de théâtre Spitzer remarks : "I do not hesitate to aver that whoever does not interpret the meaning of the T answer in the scene itself shuns the duty of explaining the whole scene and the structural position of the Fénix action. But I regret to say that all the critics whom I could consult in regard to the ??' form a 'conspiration du silence': Immermann, Wilson, Entwistle, Sloman, Ortigoza, Kayser, Wardropper say nothing about it."3 I agree with Mr. Spitzer on the importance of this scene and its interpretation . However I fail to see in it an erotic relationship between Fénix and Fernando. Part of the problem Hes in the conception one may have of these two principal characters. Some critics deal with them on a literal level while others view them only as symbolic figures . Spitzer and Wardropper treat them on both levels. As symbols they are taken to represent "Beauty" and "Constancy in Faith." Perhaps a modification of their view may lead to another interpretation of the sonnet scene, and of the play as a whole. For the difficulties of that scene are by no means the only ones. The ending of the play has also perplexed the critics. After his death the Constant Prince appears to lead the Portuguese army to victory. The Christian king Alfonso then exchanges Fénix, who was captured in the battle, for Fernando's corpse. Bruce Wardropper rightly criticizes Wilson's "bewilderment"4 and his off-hand dismissal of the ending, as he does Entwistle's "dogmatic certainty" (page 512) that the resurrection of the Prince is the cornerstone of the action. For the problem of the exchange of Fénix for Fernando's body remains. King Alfonso calls this ransom "un infeHce muerto por una divina imagen." The context clearly indicates that Fénix is the "divina imagen." Spitzer poses the problem presented by such a description: "How, then, if the Hnguistic pomp as weU as the 'comparison of values' have taught us to prefer worth to emptiness, can Calderón end with the contrasting of an unfortunate dead man and a divine image of beauty?" Unfortunately Professor Spitzer is driven to very unHkely conclusions 18 as he continues his remarks: "It is as though grief over the death of what is transistory were at the last moment ruining the plan of the moralist Calder ón. Kayser is right both when he writes 'melancholy hovers Hke an aura around the figure of Fénix' and when he asserts that our drama is 'tinged with a painful love of worldliness.' But still, the sudden break in style and feeling in the last two lines surprises us: perhaps we should read "muerto infelice " and "divina imagen" as if they were enclosed in quotation marks: 'A so-called unfortunate dead man,' 'a socalled divine image.'" (page 159). I oppose the suggestion that Calderón's words may be taken to mean the opposite of what they say. A more adequate explanation of these difficulties may He...


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