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Contribution to Book

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Plays about martyrs form a curious subgenre within the comedia. In a direct contradiction of the values normally associated with the comedia, we are asked to accept that dishonor is glorious, that submission is courageous, and that death is a reward because it brings eternal life. The martyrs themselves, however, as presented in the comedia, are not of a single type; the way each comes to his or her final apotheosis is a function of the comedia setting in which the martyr acts. Too, because martyr plays almost always use external source material, a study of the presentations of the lives of the saints can give us valuable insight into the way literary fiction, folklore, and history come together in the comedia. In this brief overview of martyrs in the comedia, we shall discuss three martyrs represented in three works: Calderón's El principe constante, Lope's Lo fingido verdadero, and Angela de Acevedo's La margarita del Tajo.


Jean S. Chittenden


University of Texas at El Paso


El Paso

Publication Information

Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Golden Age Spanish Drama Symposium