(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Peribáñez typifies Vega Carpio’s ideas of the necessary ingredients for a successful drama and is truly one of Spain’s greatest plays. In this three-act comedia, Peribáñez, a young farmer, and his bride, Casilda, confront the local commander of Ocaña, their town, in his attacks against their love and honor. The play opens with the wedding scene of the young couple and includes some beautiful verse between the newlyweds proclaiming their love for each other and their individual expectations of their marriage. The day is cursed, however, when the young and noble commander of Ocaña suffers a terrible fall from his horse. Peribáñez and Casilda offer their home to the commander so that he may recover from his accident. When he finally regains consciousness, he sets his eyes on the beautiful bride and immediately falls in love with her. The commander decides that he will stop at nothing to fulfill his desires for Casilda. He plots to bribe the couple with gifts of mules and earrings in the hope of winning their trust and taking advantage of Casilda.

The rest of the first act deals with the young lovers’ trip to Toledo, where the king of Spain is celebrating the summer festival, and how the commander follows them there and secretly hires an artist to paint a portrait of the woman whom he so strongly desires. In these descriptions of the wedding and the festivals, Vega Carpio vividly describes the houses and the dresses that the women wear and, in this way, offers the reader a rich description of the local colors and customs.

In the second act, the overlord, with the help of his two servants, gains entrance to Casilda’s house when...

(The entire section is 690 words.)


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

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