El Castigo Sin Venganza Analysis

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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 her on the pretext that she is some captured traitor. Frederico does so without question showing his loyalty to his father. As Frederico discovers with horror the identity of his victim, the Duke falsely accuses him of having murdered Casandra out of envy, in order to prevent her from having a child who would deny him any chance of access to the Dukedom. The Duke doesn’t allow Frederico to speak or to explain himself and has him hacked to death on the spot. The Duke claims that this hideous deed is not a vengeance but just a punishment (Jeffs, K. 2011).
Casandra and Frederico are both victims of tyranny which we as the audience feel sympathy for, the evil they do and for which they eventually suffer originates outside them, although they
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