Wife-absolution dramas represent part of the corpus of Spanish honor plays, but they have not received the same critical attention as the major uxoricide dramas. This study analyzes the different outcomes in these two kinds of plays by comparing the behavior of the jealous husband and supposedly unfaithful wife in one of the later wife-absolution comedias, Moreto's El defensor de su agravio, with the best-known wife-murder drama, Calderón's El médico de su honra. The study concludes that there are several explanations for these contrary outcomes, but the most important factor is whether the husband retains the use of his rational faculties in order to judge his wife's fidelity properly. While the Duke of Athens is able to recover the use of reason at the end of El defensor de su agravio, Gutierre is unable to do so in El médico de su honra, a difference that explains how only the Duke can overcome his jealousy and determine his wife's innocence, a transformation that allows him to maintain his honor while restoring personal and public order at the play's conclusion.


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pp. 103-118
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