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Bulletin Of The Comediantes Vol. XXI Fall, 1969 No. 2 Tirso's "LA VENTURA CON EL NOMBRE": ITS SOURCE AND DATE OF COMPOSITION Ruth Lee Kennedy University of Arizona Señora de los Ríos, when dating La ventura con el nombre^ saw in it references to the unfounded suspicions of 1632 which accused the Conde-Duque de Olivares of murdering prince Carlos. She accordingly dated it "after July, 1632." She accepted, too, as established fact the suggestion which Cotarelo had hesitantly put forth (JVBAE, IV, p. LX, n.l) that Quevedo was possibly the author of the famous pulh which begins, "Vítor, don Juan de Alarcón / y el fraile de la Merced . . . ," then proceeded to mesh it with her theory that Quevedo's Chiton2 of 1630 was directed against Tirso and that the aforesaid abusive coph — which undoubtedly finds its reflection in this play — must accordingly be of the same general date. Though she pointed out that there are in this comedia allusions to Tirso's difficulties with the Junta de reformaci ón in 1625, she chose to ignore their importance for the play's chronology, lest they undermine her theory that Quevedo3 had, on writing his Chiton, declared ideological warfare against Tirso. Such action on Quevedo's part (she further reasoned) had led to a "theatre of opposition" on that of the Mercedarian, one that falls between 1630-35 and includes, among others, such plays as La prudencia en la mujer, La ventura con el nombre, No hay peor sordo, and Privar contra su gusto.4 This study is written to prove that La ventura con el nombre can not serve as a cornerstone to the elaborate edifice which Sra. de los Ríos has built up: it cannot, for the simple reason that it was necessarily composed in 1620-21, even though Tirso retouched it in 1625 — at which time the important autobiographical details which are found in this play were added. Tirso borrowed the main outlines of La ventura's plot from that of El rey por semejanza5 (an early play, doubtfully attributed to Lope) and from his own El árbol del mejor fruto, a work necessarily written by May 3, 1621. AU three plays offer the situation of two male characters of royal blood who are identical in appearance. In all three cases, when one ruler is murdered , the one of identical appearance takes over his role. In La ventura con el nombre and El árbol del mejor fruto, Tirso finds explanation for their astonishing resemblance in the fact that they are half-brothers, sired by the same royal father. One may even suspect that the dramatist who wrote El rey por semejanza would have resolved the situation in the same fashion, had we the sequel which is probably implied in the play's final lines: "Los demás de sus sucesos / no se refieren aquí / por no dar lugar el tiempo." Tirso's La ventura con el nombre may be summarized as follows: Adolfo , having murdered his brother Primislao III in his sleep, has just been crowned King of Bohemia. One of his first official acts is to implicate (with35 out reason) his own wife Basilisa, whose imprisonment in Castel-Peñas he orders with the intention of having her murdered later. He is moved to such violence, partly by a mad desire to rule, partly by the unlawful passion which he feels for his brother's wife, Sibila. Sibila, however, quickly establishes her own position (I, ii) : "El reino se hereda, / Señor, mas no el matrimonio ." Then she asks to retire to her country estate, Belvalle,6 to weep her losses. Transplanted from Prague to the country-side, we meet some rustics, among them Clora, who has finally decided in favor of Balón's suit rather than Ventura's. In truth, Ventura is not greatly concerned: he feels within him a force which impels him to seek his fortunes at court. While soliloquizing , he hears a sound that is suggestive of a body falling in water and straightway seeks a hiding-place. From this cover, he overhears Otón, privado to Adolfo, tell Matías of the murder that...


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