Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Sancho IV (SAHN-choh), called Sancho the Brave, the king of Castile. He falls in love with Estrella Tabera, the betrothed of Don Sancho Ortiz. The king, in disguise, bribes his way into her home but is recognized by her brother, who refuses to acknowledge him as the king, claiming that no ruler would stoop to dishonor. Unable to act in his own person, the king promises Don Sancho any bride he may choose in return for killing an enemy. Don Sancho, finding that he must kill his fiancée’s brother, is faithful to his oath of loyalty and kills Don Bustos. Imprisoned, he loyally remains silent, and King Sancho must order his execution. At the plea of Estrella, he gives her the power to decide the fate of Don Sancho. When she frees him, the king is forced to confess his own guilt.
Estrella Tabera (ehs-TREH-yah tah-BEH-rah), the Star of Seville. When her fiancé, Don Sancho, kills her brother at the king’s command, she saves Don Sancho’s life but refuses to marry him because of the murder.
Don Bustos Tabera
Don Bustos Tabera (BEWS-tohs), Estrella’s brother, who insults the disguised king and is killed in a duel by his sister’s fiancé.
Don Sancho Ortiz
Don Sancho Ortiz (ohr-TEES), Estrella’s betrothed. At the king’s command, he kills her brother and, unswervingly loyal, refuses to reveal the truth. He is saved from execution by Estrella, but they never marry.
Don Arias (AH-ree-ahs), the king’s confidant.
Don Pedro de Guzmán
Don Pedro de Guzmán (PEH-droh deh guhs-MAHN) and
Don Farfán de Riviera
Don Farfán de Riviera (fahr-FAHN deh rree-va-rah), alcaldes of Seville.
Matilde (mah-TEEL-deh), a maid who admits the disguised king to Estrella’s house. She is hanged by Don Bustos.
Clarindo (klahr-EEN-doh), Don Sancho’s servant.
Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Bergmann, Emilie. “Reading and Writing in the Comedia.” In The Golden Age Comedia: Text, Theory, and Performance, edited by Charles Ganelon and Howard Manning. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1994. Discusses the ways that reading and writing define women’s roles in the play; compares the treatment of women in The Star of Seville with that given them in another contemporary drama.
Fitzmaurice-Kelly, James. A New History of Spanish Literature. New York: Oxford University Press, 1926. Classifies the play as the best of the heroic dramas of the Golden Age. Briefly comments on the controversy over authorship.
Oriel, Charles. Writing and Inscription in Golden Age Drama. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1992. A chapter on The Star of Seville focuses on the written texts (letters and such) that appear in the play and explores their function in illuminating the code of honor.
Thomas, Henry. Introduction to The Star of Seville. New York: Oxford University Press, 1950. Calls the work one of the greatest plays of the Golden Age of Spanish drama. Analyzes the development of the king, Sancho, and Busto, whose varying understanding of the concept of honor lies at the heart of the drama.
Ziomek, Henryk. A History of Spanish Golden Age Drama. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1984. Briefly sketches the dramatic conflict of the play, discusses the theme of loyalty, and comments on historical parallels.