El Castigo Sin Venganza Summary

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Considered to be Lope’s finest tragedy, El castigo sin venganza tells the story of the beautiful Casandra. Recently married to the Duke of Ferrara, who mistreats, ignores, and insults her by pursuing other women. After the Duke receives a command from the Pope that he must go to Rome, he leaves his illegitimate son Federico in charge of the dukedom. Casandra and Fredrico fall passionately in love, an incestuous and adulterous affair develops. When the Duke learns of it, he contrives a cunning plan to have them both killed under false pretenses, enacting a punishment without public knowledge of his revenge. The Duke seizes Casandra, ties and gags her and covers her up so that she cannot be recognized. He commands that his son Frederico kill…show more content…
He took advantage of his father’s absence to pursue his relationship with Casandra and abused the Duke’s trust. The character who I have the most sympathy for in this play is Casandra. The Duke has scorned and ignored her, treating her, according to Casandra, as if she were a piece of furniture brought in to improve the look of the house. Casandra realizes that a relationship with Frederico would be an impossible love but she imagines this love as part of her thirst for vengeance on her husband who, by ignoring her, has denied her the status and dignity of a human being. The thought of revenge on a "birbaro marido" (1564) who has committed adultery after his marriage to her, entices her into believing that "los imposibles parecen / ficiles" (1566-67) (Everett W. Hesse 1997) . While she occupies herself with the thought of a secret revenge, she is overcome by the fear of the Duke 's justice and so restrains herself for the present, convinced that "... mayor fuera / mi desatino, si diera / puerta a tan loca pasión" (1573-75) (Everett W. Hesse 1997). In the second act Lope portrays Casandra in a warm and sympathetic light, Casandra tells Lucrecia that the Duke spends nights away from home, that it is all you can expect from men that the world allows it, she proclaims that he spends none of his nights with her and that she would be better off as a simple farmers wife ‘en aquella humilde esfers como en las camas reales se gozan contentos tales que no les crece el valor si los efectos del amor son en las noches iguales’(Everett W. Hesse 1997). From this it is impossible not to feel sympathy for Casandra, she has been forced into this horrible marriage by her father a man whom she loves but evidently can no longer trust. She has lost all faith in men due
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