Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Diana (DYAH-nah), the countess of Belflor, who is like the gardener’s dog that will not eat the food or let anyone else enjoy it. Investigating the story of a man seen escaping from the top story of her palace, she discovers that her secretary, Teodoro, has been seeing Marcela, one of her ladies in waiting. At first, she gives permission for their wedding, but then she changes her mind and in a letter dictated to Teodoro hints at her affection for him, though his blood is not noble. Meanwhile, she is courted by two nobles and consents to marry Ricardo, even while alternately encouraging and rejecting Teodoro. At last, angered by Teodoro, she wounds him with a knife. His announcement that he is leaving Naples for Madrid makes her decide to marry him; in addition, his servant has concocted a plan to make him one of the nobility. Although she is assured by Teodoro that the scheme is false, Diana decides that happiness is found in a union of souls, not of social classes, especially if they conceal the truth of his lowly status, so they marry.


Teodoro (tay-oh-DOH-roh), the secretary of Countess Diana. He loves Marcela, one of her ladies in waiting, but he turns to Diana, then back to Marcela, and again to his employer when her jealousy is aroused by seeing him embrace Marcela. At last, he tells Marcela to marry Fabio, but at his next rebuff by Diana, because of his lowly birth, he announces his...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Dixon, Victor. Introduction to The Dog in the Manger, by Lope de Vega Carpio. Ottawa: Dovehouse Editions, 1990. Extensive examination of the sources, structure, and characterization of the work. Explicates the action and discusses the complexity of plotting; reviews Vega Carpio’s intriguing resolution of the comedy.

Hayes, Francis C. Lope de Vega. New York: Twayne, 1967. Suitable for general readers, with separate chapters providing a brief biographical sketch, analysis of the writer’s plays and nondramatic works, and commentary on the status of drama in Vega Carpio’s lifetime. Classifies The Gardener’s Dog as one of several works in which Vega Carpio uses stock devices to achieve humor.

Pring-Mill, R. D. F. Introduction to Lope de Vega: Five Plays, translated by Jill Booty. New York: Hill and Wang, 1961. Brief but insightful commentary on the play, highlighting Vega Carpio’s use of irony, especially in the ending, where he reveals that honor as portrayed by the protagonists is no more than a sham.

Rennert, Hugo A. The Life of Lope de Vega. New York: G. E. Stechert, 1904. Though Rennert does not have the benefit of twentieth century scholarship, this volume contains useful information on The Gardener’s Dog and other works; especially helpful for understanding the place of individual dramas within Vega Carpio’s canon.

Vega Carpio, Lope de. Four Plays. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1936. Includes an introduction by John Garrett Underhill and a critical essay by Jacinto Benavente, in which a practicing artist discusses technical aspects of The Gardener’s Dog and Vega Carpio’s accomplishments as a dramatist.