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Les Vanités dans le théâtre de Calderòn

By Didier Souiller


The Spanish playwright Calderòn de la Barca (1600-1681) shares the same religious vision with the Siglo de Oro period, made of stoicism and Christian ascetism : Everyman « walks among the shades of death ». Dealing with his whole scenic production, it seems necessary to define the main sources of his anthropology, depending on the schema of temptation, between a fascinating world and the necessity to consider its vanity and illusion ; pessimism moderated by the jesuitic (relatively) optimistic vision of a creature able to save himself or herself through repentance and free will. The dialectical theme of « vanity » gives shape to the different theatrical genres of the plays by Calderòn, so much so that unvarying dramatic functions appear constantly, for instance the tempting female character. Ultimately, desengaño (disillusionment) could be the sole subject-matter of this theatre, implying infinite variations to illustrate the labyrinth of the world, where life appears as mere illusion and vanity. Calderòn’s plays seem quite close to the function of « vanity » in paintings that represent a skull or symbols of decay among the glories of life, as if it were the playwright’s aim to put a « vanity » on the stage

Topics: History (General) and history of Europe, D, French literature - Italian literature - Spanish literature - Portuguese literature, PQ1-3999
Publisher: Institut du Monde Anglophone
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.4000/episteme.372
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