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Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla by Raymond R. MacCurdy, University of New Mexico To my knowledge no one has publicly challenged Rojas' authorship of Del rey abajo, ninguno, although the reasons for attributing it to him are not substantial. The first known edition of the play was printed under Calderóne name in Parte cuarenta y dos de comedias de diferentes autores (Zaragoza, 1651); however, in the prologue to the Cuarta farte of his comedias (Madrid, 1672) Calderón explicitly repudiated it.1 The next known edition bears the title El labrador más honrado García del Castañar. Comedia famosa de D. Trancisco de Roxas. It is a suelta without place or date, although Cotarelo believed that it was published at the end of the seventeenth century.2 The attribution to Rojas in the title of this suelta is apparently the only reason why the play has since been identified with him. Since it was not included in the two Partes of Rojas comedias (1640 and 1645, respectively ), some of its editors have assumed that Rojas wrote it after 1645.3 This is possible but not probable since the Spanish theatres were closed at that time and did not reopen until after Rojas' death in 1648. It is not known that Rojas wrote any plays during the period 1645-48, although he may have.4 Since I, like most students, became acquainted with Rojas through this fine play and believed it typical of him, my doubts concerning his claim to it were slow in coming —not until I had read all the plays attributed to him and then reread Del rey abajo, ninguno, which, I thought, did not "read" like the others, especially with regard to vocabulary and style. Despairing of the task of making a statistical study of word frequencies, grammatical usage, and other linguistic checks in all Rojas' plays, I resigned myself to comparing the versification and persistent dramaturgical traits of the twenty-four plays in the two Partes (whose authenticity is certain) with the same features of Del rey abajo, ninguno. For the sake of brevity I shall report only the most demonstrable evidence, although other arguments against Rojas' authorship can be adduced . As a tragedian, Rojas is noted for the savage violence and truculent endings of his plays. He often puts killings on the stage, and he is especially fond of exhibiting corpses in the final scenes. In the twelve plays in the Partes which contain violent deaths, ten treat the audience to a view of the mutilated victim(s) as the characters crowd about the lifeless body (bodies) and express their awe in short speeches. Of the other two, No hay ser fadre siendo rey gives a lengthy, vivid description of Rugero's murder of his brother; and Santa Isabel seeks to provide a surprise ending by keeping secret until the final scene the villain's death as a result of his evil machinations. By comparison , Del rey abajo has relatively little violence. Garcia kills Mendo off-stage, and the audience does not even see the dead victim . But even more inconceivable in Rojas is Garcia's long (197 lines) partially expository speech after the killing. Rojas likes to let the blood do the talking, with few assists from the characters. Rojas is also fond of using omens, ominous songs, and other portentous devices to forebode tragic events. He is not content to forebode only a character's death, but employs art elaborate chain of omens to foreshadow every critical event in the development of the tragedy. Del rey abajo, ninguno lacks these portentous devices, depending upon other means to create the tragic atmosphere. The most severely criticized aspect of Rojas' tragedies is his extravagance with novelistic and comic subplots (£fcomo entremeses zurcidos a la acción capital")5 which allegedly subvert the tragic action. Whether this is always so is debatable, but it is true that Rojas devotes great time and space to dramatizing the comic within his tragedies, His concern with the comic begins with the name of the gracioso to which he pays close attention (as do other Golden Age dramatists ) . Of the twenty-four plays in the Partes, twenty-one...


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