Historical Context

(Drama for Students)

George Anton, Jeffery Kissoon, Olwen Fouere, Simon Turner, and Nicholas Bailey in a 1998 production of Life is a Dream Published by Gale Cengage

The Golden Age in Spain

The period between 1580 and 1680 is called the Golden Age in Spain, when art and literature...

(The entire section is 658 words.)

Literary Style

(Drama for Students)


Life Is a Dream is a comedia, a form of Spanish drama perfected at the beginning of the...

(The entire section is 389 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Drama for Students)


Calderón de la Barca, Pedro, Life Is a Dream, translated by Edward and Elizabeth Huberman, in The...

(The entire section is 576 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Honig, Edwin. Calderón and the Seizures of Honor. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972. A good discussion of one of the dominant issues of Calderónian theater. Compares the treatment of the concept of honor in The Mayor of Zalamea (1643) with that of other plays in which the protagonist is an aristocrat.

Maraniss, James. On Calderón. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1978. One of the starting points in the discussion of the new interpretations of Calderónian drama.

Parker, A. A. The Mind and Art of Calderón: Essays on the Comedia. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1989. A discussion of Calderónian theater from one of the critics responsible for renewed interest in and new interpretations of Golden Age theater.

Sloman, Albert. The Dramatic Craftsmanship of Calderón. Oxford, England: Dolfin Book Company, 1958. A good analysis of structure and dramatic technique; insists on close reading of text.

Wilson, Margaret. Spanish Drama of the Golden Age. Elmsford, N.Y.: Pergammon Press, 1967. A basic introduction to Spanish Golden Age drama. Calderón’s plays are compared to those of his contemporaries. Wilson comes to different conclusions than those of many critics.

Compare and Contrast

(Drama for Students)

  • 1600s: People often consult the stars to help them decide how to act and to see into the future.

    Today: Many...

(The entire section is 206 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Drama for Students)

  • Although dreams are generally thought not to be real in themselves, they have often had the power to transform reality. Choose two works...

(The entire section is 256 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Drama for Students)

  • "Abu Hassan; or, The Sleeper Awakened," in The Arabian Nights (ca. 1000 C.E.), is the tale of a wise young man who...

(The entire section is 399 words.)