The Corruption of Love in the Plays of Lope De Vega

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Throughout the history of literature, love has always played a large role in plot because it is a feeling that is universally shared by all humans and has been throughout human history. Spanish culture specifically, tends to be a culture more associated with romance and love than others. It is no surprise that because of this high importance placed on love and romance in Spanish culture that many Spanish authors and playwrights incorporate some form of love into all of their works. Lope De Vega was no exception and was one of the most famous playwrights of his time during the Spanish Golden Age. Something that makes Lope’s plays, specifically some of his unpublished ones such as Fuenteovejuna and Punishment Without Revenge so interesting is not the presence of perfect, harmonious love but rather of corrupt and distorted love within the characters’ relationships in his plays. By writing plays involving imperfect love, Lope comments on the culture around love and marriage of his time and even criticizes it, something Spanish audiences during this time were not ready to handle, which is the reason why some of these plays were never published until recently. A common device Lope uses to demonstrate corrupt love is through the use of love triangles. Lope’s play Fuenteovejuna is unique from most other plays because the protagonist of the play is an entire town as opposed to just one or two people. While the play comments more on politics, social hierarchy and protest than love, the play contains a subplot about a sort of love triangle between Laurencia, Frondoso, and the Commander. In one scene specifically, four characters have a debate on what exactly love is. The debate is between Laurencia, Frondoso, and Barrildo arguing that love ... ... middle of paper ... ...g his time period to show his audience that corrupt, unharmonious love is detrimental to Spanish society. However, both of these plays were never performed nor published during this time period, and as the Duke says in Punishment Without Revenge, “A play, Ricardo, is a mirror to all men…. The truth is simply the majority of men would willingly ignore the truth about themselves” (P. 178-179) This line shows that perhaps the reason these plays weren’t performed during the time period is because of the truth they held within their plots that the audiences of the time were not ready to accept, which Lope was very much aware of. If Spanish society were to accept that their ideas of true love were selfish and detrimental during this time, it would raise many other questions about Spanish society that neither the people nor the government were prepared or willing to answer.

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