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Bulletin Of The Comediantes Vol. XVII Fall, 1965 No. 2 False Accusation of Women in "Plays Probably by Lope" de Vega RrCHARD W. Tyler, The University of Nebraska Of the twenty-six plays that Morley and Bruerton call "probably by Lope,"1 seven contain the false accusation of infidelity in some form, and span some thirty years.2 The least important for our purpose, and probably the earliest, is La difunta pleiteada. Near the play's end, Leandro says, "Acuso criminalmente / a Manfredo de adulterio ."3 This is because Manfredo has tried to marry Isabela, who was formerly committed to Leandro. Believed dead, Isabela revives when Manfredo embraces her. He claims that her "death" removes any previous obligation , but the Governor of Naples rules that she must marry Leandro. Obviously , the accusation is indirect; but Manfredo could hardly be guilty alone. Thus, Isabela is a sort of secondary (but still genuine) victim of the charge. Prince Roberto's statement about the decision provides the vindication: Escribir se puede, con tal que Manfredo quede absuelto de la querella, a quien, de lástima, ofrezco de mi palacio una dama.4 Of much the same period5 is En los indicios la culpa, in which D. Luis makes D. Juan doubt the fidelity of his wife, D.a Clara. She has spurned D. Luis' attentions, and he seeks to discredit her and D. Juan's friend, D. Felipe. Again, the man is accused first (in an anonymous letter); but eventually Juan refers to both Clara and Felipe as "adúlteros traidores."6 Luis finally causes his own undoing, by telling each man that the other is waiting to fight a duel. When they meet, Felipe quickly undeceives Juan; and they are reconciled, as are Juan and Clara. This play has two features common in such works: a treacherous person seeking revenge for unrequited love via the accusation; and the use of the accusation to heighten the complications . Four of the remaining plays are close together in date,7 but not in presenting the accusation. In La necedad del discreto, Laureano, a kind of curioso impertinente, decides, though he has no suspicions, to test his wife, Fabia, with his friend, Celio. Celio falls in love with Fabia, but she resists him steadfastly. Tired of his attentions, she tries to have him killed, but inadvertently gives him the note that is supposed to bring it about. Another misapprehension creates the idea that she seeks Laureano's death; and she is accused of an affair with Polibio, who is mistakenly thought to be her choice to murder Laureano. Further complexities include Laureano's supposed madness, but a semblance of order is finally restored. 13 BUIXETIN OF THE COMEDIANTES Published in the Spring and Fall by the Comediantes, an informal, international group of all those interested in the comedia. Editor William M. Whitby University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona Associate Editor Karl-Ludwig Selig Cornell University Ithaca, New York Business Manager J. Richard Andrews University of California Los Angeles, California Subscription: $2 a year. An accusation is merely mentioned in La aldehuela y el gran prior. Certain men, envying Elvira's love for Jacinto, have told her father that she has dishonored him. Later, Jacinto is accused of violating her; but after a campaign in Flanders and other vicissitudes , he is cleared and is free to marry her. Even in this briefly-mentioned accusation , we find the stock figure of an unsuccessful suitor—or more than one—falsely accusing the unresponsive woman. In Arminda celosa, Octavia falsely accuses Florela in order to divert Queen Arminda's well-founded suspicions of Octavia and the queen's consort , Antonio. To support her charge, Octavia tricks Florela into helping her stage an incriminating scene. This convinces Arminda that Octavia is innocent and makes Teodoro think the worst of Florela, whom he loves. They are reconciled when Arminda pardons Florela, and Octavia is removed as a temptation to Antonio when Arminda gives her to the King of Ireland. Apart from the self-seeking treacherous accuser, already familiar, it is of some interest that Octavia's stagemanaging , for Arminda's and Teodoro's benefit, is much like what happens in Laura perseguida and...


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