How are women perceived in the sonnets of Sor Juana de la Cruz and in El Burlador de Sevilla?Provide examples of the different ways women are perceived.

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tirso de Molina and Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz were pioneers and way ahead of their time when they wrote stories and sonnets respectively. It is amazing, however, since Tirso wrote from his motherland Spain in Europe and Sor Juana was a missionary nun in America. Both, however, agreed in the feeling that times needed to change for women and that something needed to be done to abolish the general consensus that women were second class citizens.

In Sor Juana's sonetos, she advocates fiercely for the rights of women to obtain an education and be allowed to perform tasks in arts and letters often associated to only males. She wrote a letter to her peer, Sister Filotea, in which she bluntly stated that women have earned the right to become educated as much or more than males. This is clearly an act of challenge for her time, and one she seemed not to regret.

In Tirso de Molina's El Burlador de Sevilla, Molina continues his extensive use of females disguising themselves as males to achieve their goals to either a) have an encounter with a man they love,  b) be admitted into society, or c) *similarly to Sor Juana* to be allowed to read, write or obtain an education. This is more evident in his Marta La Piadosa, or Martha the Pious.

Conclusively, both authors defend the rights of women and place women in a more advantageously intellectual role than that of males. Molina sees women as clever individuals who stop at nothing to get what they feel they deserve. Sor Juana sees women as individuals who deserve all that society has denied them.