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Bulletin Of The Comediantes Vol. VI Spring, 1954 No. 1 A Note on Rojas Zorrilla's Gracioso Guardainfante by Raymond R. MacCurdy, University of New Mexico At first glance there is nothing particularly arresting about the name Guardainfante,1 which Rojas Zorrilla bestows upon the graciosos in Los bandos de Verona and Los tres blasones de España? Its use would seem to mark only another instance of the widespread seventeenth-century practice of choosing for servants and other humorous characters names rich in comical suggestiveness.3 Rojas, in particular, was ever alert to the abundant opportunities for humor afforded by such a device, seldom failing to give his graciosos a name—usually a common noun— which he could exploit for comical effect. Often it is the gracioso himself who engages in ingenious word-play on his name. Thus, in No hay ser padre siendo rey, Coscorr ón traces his ancestry to the coscorrón that King Rodrigo gave to la Cava: Yo, Jaime de Coscorrón, El descendiente de aquel Coscorrón que dio Rodrigo A la Cava, porque fué Hermosa, que a las hermosas, No hay otra cosa que hacer. Yo, pues, natural de Palos, Que es cierto lugar de bien Que los coscorrones cría, He venido ahora a que Toda la ciudad entera Me preste su parecer. (Act III, p. 405.)4 Similarly, Cuatrín in Casarse por vengarse makes the following play on his name: Que aunque me llaman Cuatrín, Que es moneda destos reinos, Con ser moneda mi nombre Ni un solo mi nombre tengo. (Act I, p. 107.) in La traición busca el castigo, Don Andrés threatens his servant Mogicón: Que te doy un nombre tuyo Si no callas, Mogicón. (Act II, p. 243.) In Primero es la honra que el gusto, Pepino, a great manufacturer of words, proposes to Flora that they imitate their masters in making love: No en flores el tiempo gastes, Que aunque el Papa no dispense, Podrán en aqueste lance El pepino enflorecerse Y la flor empepinarse. (Act I, p. 443.) And when Sabañón in Sin honra no hay amistad incurs the wrath of the vain and disdainful Doña Juana by telling her that neither of his masters loves her, he remarks Jn-1Bn aside: Ya Ie pica el sabañón. (Act II, p. 308.) And so, as in the above cases, it would appear that Rojas chose the name Guardainfante primarily to exercise his ingesuity in playing on words, for indeed the naiïîe is the basis of several puns which the gracioso introduces in Los bandos de Verona. For example, when his master orders him to descend "into· the tomb to help him remove théí body of Julia, Guardainfante, paralyzed by fear, asks: 1 BULLETIN OF THE COMEDIANTES Published in the Spring and Fall by the Comediantes ,an informal, international group of all those interested in the comedia. Editor Everett W. Hesse University of Wisconsin Madison 6, Wis. Assistant Editor John E. Keller University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, N. C. Subscription: $1 a year¿Quieres tú que quepa Un Guardainfante tan ancho Por entrada tan estrecha? (Act II, p. 381.) Later, when the Capeletes seek refuge in a castle to escape the attacking Romeos and Mónteseos, the gracioso hurls this threat at his retreating enemies: Estoy hecho un perro: Puesto que soy Guardainfante, Mi nombre pienso poneros; Porque sois unos maricas Tendréis buenas faldas presto. (Act III, p. 386.) However, the assumption that Rojas, in using the name Guardainfante, was up to no more than verbal gymnastics is soon dispelled when the social context in which it occurred is established. As early as the late fifteenth century, Fray Hernando de Talavera , in his De vestir y de calzar, inveighed against the use of this bizarre acoutrement of feminine apparel for both practical and moral reasons;5 and nearly a century and a half later, during the decade of the 1630's when the Toledan dramatist was at the height of his dramatic career, the guardainfante again became the object of sharp ecclesiastical censure . In 1635, Fray Tomás Ramón published in Zaragosa his Nueva...


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