`la Tierra De Alvargonzález' - Comparison between the Old Ballads and `campos De Castilla'

`la Tierra De Alvargonzález' - Comparison between the Old Ballads and `campos De Castilla'

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One of the most important themes throughout `Campos de Castilla' is the relationship between the poet and the external reality. In `La Tierra de Alvargonzález', this is also an important theme, yet this poem differs from the collection, not only in its length, but also its content. There are many different levels of interpretation of this poem: first of all as a simple murder story, secondly as historical degeneration - represented within a family by parricide, and lastly as Cainism. `La Tierra de Alvargonzález' existed in two forms: prose and verse. The prose form was the original form, but it is the verse form which is more well-known out of them. There are some fundamental differences between the two forms. Most notably is the absence of the second narrator - the peasant, in the verse form, which creates a multitude of effects upon the interpretation of the poem. As a result, the narrator of the poem is more involved in the action he is retelling, and there is a greater accumulation of tension, more ambiguity and supernatural aspects. Another difference between the prose and verse versions is the murder of Miguel, the youngest brother. In the prose version, he is also murdered, yet in the poem, Miguel survives which puts more emphasis upon the theme of guilt and retribution. The unseen forces of sin, guilt and retribution are conveyed with an ambiguity made effective through poetic rhythm and imagery which conveys that nature and human lives run parallel, which is emphsised by the landscape's role as a reminder of the brothers' guilt in the final stages of the poem.

`La Tierra de Alvargonzález' is similar to the old ballads in its content of crime and violence. Machado leaves much of the background o...


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...onceivably regain both its material and psychological health. Real place names are used, although it becomes clear that the `tierras' symbolise Castile as a whole. They are `en el corazón de España', a phrase referring as much to a literal geographical as to a metaphorical, emotional or psychological centrality. By recounting the origin, growth, and removal of a curse on Alvargonzález's lands, Machado is talking about a malaise affecting the whole of Castile.

In conclusion, `La Tierra de Alvargonzález' highlights many recurrent themes which can be seen throughout the collection of `Campos de Castilla', such as the interaction of the landscape, not only with the narrator, but also the characters within the story which is told in this poem. This poem can also be compared to the `romances viejos' in its constant references to the Old Testament.

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