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BULLETIN OF THE COMEDIANTES Published in April and November by the Comediantes, an informal, international group of all those interested in the comedia. Editor Everett W. Hesse Madison, 6 THE CALDERONIAN GRACIOSO AND MARRIAGE by Harry W. Hilborn, Queen's University, Kingston In the comedias oí Lope de Vega the convention was already established that the gracioso , or other figura del donaire, might parody on a vulgar level the actions of the galanes with their damas. Often the parallel was fragmentary and episodic, and without consequences in the desenlace. On frequent occasions, nevertheless, Lope gave to this personage a share in the final mating, a privilege which was generally sought and accepted with gratitude. A typical instance we find in La dama boba (1613). After the marriages of the principal characters have been arranged, the lacayo Pedro asks: i Y Pedro no es bien que coma algún güeso, como perro, de la mesa destas bodas? To this he receives the reply: Clara es tuya. This attitude of regarding marriage as a boon enjoyed by superiors, but likely to be denied the humble, I have found reflected in only one of Calderón's comedias. In Lances de amor y fortuna (ca. 1624-25?), in the closing lines, the gracioso Alejo complains: .......... y a las bodas no hay quien se acuerde de Alejo. With this single exception, it seems that Calderón from the beginning introduced a new note of his own. While marriage between gracioso and criada is suggested in about the same proportion of his plays as of Lope's, the usual attitude of his gracioso is one of decided aversion to matrimony. He not only shuns marriage himself, but gives counsel against it. In sharp contrast to the general trend of the plot, which leads the principal characters towards marriage, either as the goal of love or as satisfaction for offended honor, the gracioso takes a consistently cynical view of the wedded state. While he admits love as a kind of sport, he regards marriage as an intolerable form of servitude. Just a few illustrations must here suffice. In Nadie fíe su secreto (ca. 1623-24?), the gracioso Lázaro avoids marriage in a playful fashion when in the closing lines he says to the criada Elvira: Yo me voy ; que si me tardo un poquito, según que vienen casando, te habrás de casar conmigo. In El astrólogo fingido (ca. 1624-25? ), the gracioso Morón expresses his fondness of liberty in his reaction to his master's declaration that he is renouncing marriage. Their dialogue, in part, runs as follows: Morón.Si codicias tu propio bien, dame albricias. D. Diego. I De qué? Morón.De tu libertad. En tu vida no has tenido, mejor pensamiento que éste. (BAE, VII, 575c) In Mejor está que estaba (1631), the gracioso Dinero keeps aloof from amorous entanglements, and introduces a note of dubiousness in his final address to the audience : Y pues tras tantos engaños el mal se convierte en bien, si es bien casarse, las faltas nos perdonad. . . . In the closing lines of La desdicha de la voz (1639), the gracioso Luquete and his master D. Diego, the latter wounded and left without a mate, speak as follows: Luquete. De todos, ninguno queda más airoso en esta danza que tú. D. Diego.Pues ¿por qué? Luquete.Porqué te hieren y no te casas. At the end of Primero soy yo (ca. 164042 ?), the criada Juana offers her hand to the gracioso Gonzalo, who replies: A Don Iñigo con eso; que yo no quiero . . . In Mujer, llora y vencerás (1660), the second gracioso Talón claims that his master is "el más venturoso amante" to which the first gracioso Patín replies: Y el más desdichado joven será también, si casado el premio es que ha de llevar. (BAE, XII, 587b) Not always does the Calderonian gracioso succeed in avoiding marriage, but when he accepts it, it is in a spirit of resignation or compliance with convention. An excellent example we find in the closing lines of Bien vengas, mal (1635). The gracioso Espine], without...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-0928
Print ISSN
0007-5108
Pages
pp. 2-3
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-08
Open Access
No
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