Negotiating Woman: Ana Caro’s El Conde Partinuplés and Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s La vida es sueño

Mercedes Maroto Camino, Lancaster University
Vol. 26, No. 2 (Fall 2007), 199-216

This article analyzes the intertexual links between Ana Caro’s El Conde Partinuplés and Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s acknowledged masterpiece, La vida es sueño. The connections between these plays bring to the fore Caro’s challenge of the sociocultural construction of gender in Golden Age Spain. El Conde Partinuplés, this essay argues, not only tests received notions of hegemony and kingship but also vindicates magic and female powers, including the right to a degree of agency and, above all, to female friendship and solidarity. Caro’s El Conde Partinuplés demonstrates that the concept of woman prevalent in early modern Spanish drama is, by no means, a monolithic patriarchal design. “Woman,” for Caro, is the subject of continuous negotiation on and off the stage. Nevertheless, Caro presents women who compromise by marrying and occupying their designated social space, but who are also able to manipulate the play’s action and deconstruct established notions of passivity and acquiescence.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]