Few modern Spanish playwrights have been as prolific as Jacinto Benavente y Martínez. The vast majority of his plays have been produced in Spain, and many have been presented abroad. Few dramatists anywhere have appeared in their own plays, as he often did, and undoubtedly his recognition in the form of tributes is difficult to surpass. The first official tribute to Benavente came when he was elected to fill the vacancy left in the Spanish Royal Academy by the death of Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo, a seat that Benavente never occupied because he neglected to write, and hence deliver, the necessary acceptance speech. In 1946, however, the academy made him an honorary member. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1922, elected Favorite Son of Madrid in 1924, made president of the Montepío pension fund for widows and orphans in 1929, and awarded the Mariano de Cavia Prize for the best newspaper article published in Spain during 1947. Hence, he was recognized in universal, national, municipal, and private sectors. His greatest artistic achievement was the successful transformation of the Spanish theater from the antiquated, neo-romantic, rhetorical melodrama that had carried José Echegaray y Eizaguirre to fame, fortune, and even the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1904, to contemporary social drama in which Benavente exposed and censured the middle class. His satire, wit, and imagination brought to the twentieth century a new type of drama that opened the way for other innovations. His compassion for the victims of society made him a champion of the oppressed and an early feminist. His reproach of the middle class is so gentle, however, that this class continues to flock to the theater to see itself portrayed.