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shall gather in the public dining room of the same restaurant. A Summary of Algunos aspectos del treatro del Siglo de Oro, by J. Hierro by. Gerald E. Wade, University of Tennessee Bolívar, a scholarly publication of the Colombian Ministerio de Educación Nacional, carries an occasional article of interest to specialists in the comedia. The latest issue, Número 45, has a study by José Hierro ("Algunos aspectos del teatro del Siglo de Oro," pages 865-874) that is deserving of attention. Sr. Hierro begins by stating that the first thing the modern spectator notices on witnessing a performance of a Golden Age play is that the spectacle is more modern (actual) than that of a play of our own time. But he denies that we see the comedia now as it was written to be played. In our day, the play is directed and performed for the eye; this is an evolution that has resulted from the influence of the movies. What we see now, Sr. Hierro asserts, is "una especie de guión cinematográfico realizado sobre la escena." He goes on: "El sistema seguido por los refundidores para actualizarlo suele consistir —aparte de la norma lógica de sustituir los arcaísmos—en reducir parlamentos, mutilar escenas, etc." AU to the point of bringing out the more spectacular elements, greater plastic richness, something like the ballet's. Since the comedia was created originally for the ear, the change is substantial: ". . . esta mixtificación producida en la obra convierte lo que debía ser un rito, en espect áculo." The comedia, then, as performed in our time is not what the 17th century man saw. It has lost its theatrical values, Sr. Hierro thinks. What the contemporaries of Lope witnessed was a slice of life ("un jirón de la humanidad debatiéndose en sus límiteR. luchando con sus problemas.") The actor before the audience represented the eternally human, a fact that one can appreciate today if he is successful even only partially in projecting himself back into Lope's time. Or so Sr. Hierro believes. He then continues by making a partial analysis of the comedia. First of all it was conventional. One aspect of the conventional was the language. All of the characters speak alike, and a king cannot be told from a peasant by the words he chooses to express himself with. Actually, then, it is Lope who is speaking, always (Sr. Hierro uses Lope as synonymous with any other dramatist of his time). This is perhaps the outstanding trait of his theater; it is a monologue put into a number of mouths. Lope's theater is, then, an autorretrato; he imagines himself as a king, a gentleman or a peasant, but we always hear the same voice. Lope does not invent; he merely imagines his own existence and puts them into his plays. The result is a failure to create character (he does create symbols, Sr. Hierro thinks). The villain, for example, is a villain without our understanding the mechanism of his villainy. But he is at once recognized when he appears on stage because at every moment he is evil. Lope's villain is a substitute for fatality, the inheritor of the rôle of the blind force that in Greek tragedy was unchained for the ruin of men. Lope's theater has no fate; man is free, and if he encounters tragedy it is because he or some other person fabricates it. (The important exception is La vida es sueño ; a curious thing, because Calderón, the Catholic, the theologian , starts from predestination in order to build his play.) Since in Lope's theater there is no fate, things occur because people are as they are. Whereas in Greek tragedy man is the victim of forces beyond his control, in the comedia his ruin or death is caused by a villain , and the play necessarily is centered about the murderer rather than the victim. There must be a compensatory justice, the triumph of right. In true tragedy, there is no compensation. Sr. Hierro asserts that whereas in the comedia there are no characters (except in Tirso), there do...


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