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With respect to the fictional father, Robert Con Davis (3) has noted (1) that the question of the father in fiction, in whatever guise, is essentially one of father absence; (2) that each manifestation of the father in a text is a refinding of an absent father; (3) and that the father's origin is to be found in the trace of his absence. Calderón's masterpiece, Life Is a Dream, is the parallel story of two people's searches for their fathers and the consequences both of not knowing who they are at the beginning and of their finding them before the final curtain. For Segismundo, the trajectory of this search takes him from the question of whether he is animal or human, dead or alive, through the acting-out of his imaginary desire, to the mediation of his desire symbolic civilization. His is the way it should work, the way it does work for men who accept both the limitations and the promises of the law. While it is quite true that within the structure of the play neither Segismundo nor Rosaura can effect a personal transformation without the other, her quest and discovery are different from his in important ways. Here we shall concern ourselves with the role of the father in the problems and actions of each one, focusing particularly on Rosaura.


Arturio Pérez-Pisonero


University of Texas at El Paso


El Paso

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Texto y espectáculo: Nuevas dimensiones críticas de la Comedia