Lope de Vega's 'Comedias de tema religioso': Re-creations and Re-presentationsby Elaine Canning
Lope de Vega's religious plays are a distinctive part of his output, but little scholarly work is available on them. This study focuses on five plays, La hermosa Ester, the Isidro plays, Lo fingido verdadero and La buena guarda. Within the context of the seventeenth-century stage, Canning examines Lope's manipulation of religious material, and his treatment of socio-literary themes - love, the role of women - and the way in which they are employed to generate audience reception. She considers the relationship between religious drama and metatheatre, focusing on Lope's techniques for highlighting the illusory nature of life and the relationship between lo verdadero and lo divino, concepts which lie at the heart of the theocentric world view of seventeenth-century Spain. The conflicting imperatives of human and divine love and the issue of identity are features of all of the plays. And she shows that the interplay between illusion and reality and the relationship between playwright and audience are crucial to Lope's dramatic output. ELAINE CANNING lectures in Spanish at the University of Wales, Bangor.
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