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Contribution to Book

Publication Date



Cesáreo Bandera published Mimesis conflictiva in 1975, at least a decade ahead of its time in terms of its reception by the comediantes. Using the ideas of René Girard, Bandera focuses primarily on Don Quixote, but a significant section of the monograph is devoted to a discussion of La vida es sueño. His discussion is wide ranging, dealing with the relationship between subject and object; the nature of, and processes surrounding, the sacrificial victim; the necessary relationship between truth, violence, civilization, reason, and illusion; the role of desire and (in)differentiation in rivalry; and the all-pervasive influence of the other in human relations. Unfortunately, Bandera's book and his approach to the comedia have been largely ignored or vitiated as unable to account for every detail in the play. Ciriaco Morón-Arroyo accuses Bandera (along with Freud and Derrida) of trying ''to find a radical principle or a radical reality out of which the rest of things would become meaningful" (85), dismissing most of Bandera's arguments with the statement that literature "cannot be approached only from this point of view" (79). Not only is this assertion unfair to Bandera's work, which in no way excludes the possibility of multiple approaches to the comedia or any other literary texts, but it also neglects the interesting perspective that Girard and Bandera have to offer. The purpose of this present study is to continue the discussion of Girard's Violence and the Sacred, not with respect to La vida es sueño but rather to Lope's El castigo sin venganza. Considering the nature of Girard's ideas regarding the relationship among sex, violence, the sacred, rivalry, and the double bind, his study would seem to have a natural association not just to this comedia but to the wife-murder plays in general.


Charles Ganelin & Howard Mancing


Purdue University Press


West Lafayette



Publication Information

The Golden Age Comedia: Text, Theory, and Performance