For Antonio Buero Vallejo, tragedy is an all-embracing quest for understanding, an intuitive investigation of an enigmatic reality. Rejecting prescriptive considerations, he considers that tragedy is the representation of human beings’ struggle against their limitations, for their freedom. In their quest for understanding or truth, for the light that will permit them to overcome their limitations, many of Buero Vallejo’s protagonists—whose prototype is the blind Oedipus—embody the preoccupations of the dramatist. In their struggle against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, they often evince the idealism of Don Quixote. Buero Vallejo’s attitude toward the struggle that tragedy implies is ultimately one of hope. Tragedy, Buero Vallejo has stated, proposes an encounter with those truths that can, perhaps, free human beings from their blindness.
The very foundation of Buero Vallejo’s theater is his passion for truth. The human condition is seen as characterized by self-deception and unwillingness to face the harsher realities of life. To express this idea, Buero Vallejo often uses the symbolism of blindness and vision, of darkness and light. Indeed, this symbolism appears in the very first play he wrote: In the Burning Darkness, whose alienated protagonist, Ignacio, yearns to see. The new arrival in a school for the blind, he merges his desire to overcome his physical limitation with his metaphysical anguish, seeking a light that...
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