Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 270
Martínez Sierra’s CRADLE SONG has been one of the most successful plays of the twentieth century Spanish theater; its production has continued both in Spain and abroad for more than sixty years with renewed critical and popular acclaim. Though only thirty when he produced the play, Martínez Sierra showed an insight into the human character which touched audiences of wide cultural and age differences. The combination of characterization, theme and humor with a solid plot made it a success. It has been one of the few modern dramas which successfully took a sentimental story and made it powerful rather than maudlin.
One particular aspect of the play which is significant for more recent critics is its characterizations of women. Martínez Sierra wrote CRADLE SONG with his wife, the noted poetess Maria de la O Lajarraga. Her influence is felt quite significantly in the play in the insight which the audience obtains into the feelings of the main female characters. For a play of the early twentieth century this is highly unusual and it is a topic about which much has been written in the past few years. The analysis of the universal instinct of motherhood and the female consciousness bring an unusual depth to the play.
The setting of CRADLE SONG and the humor of the action also add to the enjoyment which audiences have had from the play for decades and will continue to have for many years to come. As a work to read, rather than see performed, CRADLE SONG has sufficiently good dialogue to be appreciated without benefit of stage and live actors.
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