Analysis Of Calderon De La Barca's Life Is A Dream

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Staged in London this year, a new version of Calderon De La Barca 's play Life is a Dream, retells it from the point of view of its main female character. The website for Rosaura proclaims her as "one of the strongest characters in the history of theatre", (REF), giving the impression that Calderon, despite his strong absolutist and catholic views, believed in some equality of the sexes. After all, in the original play, when Rosaura bursts onto the stage, dressed like a man, swearing and climbing down a mountain side, she is signalling to the audience that this is a female character breaking down all the restrictions placed on her gender in 17th Century Spain. Conversely, by the play 's end, this feisty female is submitting meekly to marriage, to a man she 's sworn vengence upon. Were the societal pressures weighing so heavy on Calderon, that he had to hastily marry the character off, thereby preserving the era 's conformity to gender stereotypes? Or rather, did this so called 'strong, female character ' never really exist in the first place? Calderon uses her character to shore up the patriarchal ideologies of marriage, absolutism, and the honour code. These are the ideologies that kept the female gender in Baroque Spain, subservient to the male.

Written in 1635, the once glorious empire of Spain was in decline, from the loss of colonies, the defeat of the Armada, plague and bancruptcy. As Kevin J. Wetmore points out in Revenge Drama of European Renaissance and
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