Lope de Vega’s El robo de Dina, based upon Genesis 31-34, focuses on the disturbing series of events involving Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, and culminating in the mass slaughter of an entire enemy people who were doing their best to accommodate the demands of the Hebrews. The primary focus of this article is not the Biblical story itself, but rather the techniques that Lope used to adapt his source text for a comedia audience. From the amplification of the scope of the source text by the inclusion of the story of Laban and Jacob to the depiction of women as objects to be protected, sold, or stolen, this lesser-known play by Lope provides considerable insight into how seventeenth-century Spain viewed the Bible, the history of the Jewish people, the relationships between men and women, and even the comedia and Baroque ideals. A striking example of the conflictive nature of Baroque art, comedia dramaturgy, and the contradictions prevalent in seventeenth-century Spain, this play offers a mixture of unexpected differences: an act of sexual aggression and sympathy for the perpetrator, the history of the Hebrew people as seen through the poetic and theatrical conventions of the Spanish comedia, and simultaneous reverence for and condemnation of the Hebrew protagonists.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Stroud, Matthew D. “Genesis 31-34 as Spanish Comedia: Lope de Vega’s El robo de Dina.” Neophilologus 96.2 (2012): 233-45.