Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Pedro Crespo

Pedro Crespo (PEH-droh KREHS-poh), a farmer of Zalamea whose story was first told in a play by Lope de Vega. He is a candidate for mayor in the approaching elections. Because he is wealthy, his house is selected as lodgings for Captain Ataide, who is leading his troops to Guadalupe. Although he is a commoner, he is a proud and independent man.

Juan Crespo

Juan Crespo (hwahn), his son, who wants his father to refuse hospitality to the Spanish soldiers. Later, he suspects the trickery of Captain Ataide and is almost killed for drawing a sword against him in defense of his sister. Saved by the arrival of Don Lope, Juan decides to enlist under his banner and march away with him.


Isabel (EE-sah-behl), the daughter of Pedro Crespo. Upon the arrival of the soldiers, she hides in the attic, where she is discovered by Captain Ataide, who kidnaps her. After his death, she enters a nunnery.


Inés (ee-NEHS), Isabel’s cousin, who hides with her in the Crespo attic.

Don Álvaro de Ataide

Don Álvaro de Ataide (AHL-vah-roh deh ah-TI-deh), a captain and the leader of a company of soldiers billeted in Zalamea. Curious about Isabel’s...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Calderón de la Barca, Pedro. Calderón de la Barca: Four Plays. Translated and with an introduction by Edwin Honig. New York: Hill and Wang, 1961. Honig’s introduction and Norman MacColl’s appendix provide illuminating context for understanding Spanish drama of the period.

Gerstinger, Heinz. Pedro Calderón de la Barca. Translated by Diana Stone Peters. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1973. Discusses another of the play’s central themes: order and disorder, and how order is needed to limit human passions. Argues against the play’s being unique among Calderón’s works. Bibliography.

Hesse, Everett W. Calderón de la Barca. New York: Twayne, 1967. Describes The Mayor of Zalamea in terms of genre (it is a costumbristic play) and theme (honor). A good starting place for the study of Calderón. Bibliography.

Maraniss, James E. On Calderón. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1978. Stressing Calderón’s sense of “order triumphant,” Maraniss moves through the canon examining the structural integrity of each play, the symmetry of the plots, and the repeated ideas of social order.

Parker, Alexander A. The Mind and Art of Calderón: Essays on the Comedias. Edited by Deborah Kong. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988. Discusses historical allusions in the play. Notes and index.