(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Aragon is in a state of siege because the usurper king, lately dead, refused to acknowledge and reward the services of the Moors in gaining the kingdom for him. Queen Leonora, promised on her father’s deathbed to Duke Bertran, regrets this alliance as well as the fact that she holds in a dungeon the deposed King Sancho, a righteous and beloved ruler. Bertran’s forces were routed three times by the Moors before Torrismond, supposed son of Raymond, one of the leading nobles, rallied the scattered Christians and saved the kingdom from the infidels.

Young Lorenzo, a valiant colonel in Torrismond’s army, brings news of the victory and confides to his friends his desire to celebrate with the first prostitute available. He boasts that he robbed his Moorish victims of gold and jewels. Elvira, the young wife of a jealous old moneylender named Gomez, makes advances to the handsome soldier, but her husband immediately thwarts plans for the assignation that was put in motion by Friar Dominic.

Upon his triumphal return, Torrismond offends Bertran by openly ridiculing him for ineptness. He also naïvely declares his love for the queen, who, in turn, is smitten with love for the young hero. Bertran vows vengeance and agrees to her suggestion to kill King Sancho because he thinks that will hasten the marriage. Leonora makes the suggestion with the intention of thereby making Torrismond her king-husband. Torrismond, however, remains loyal to the old king and to Raymond.

Despite all efforts to the contrary,...

(The entire section is 628 words.)