Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Don Juan Tenorio

Don Juan Tenorio (WAHN teh-NOH-ree-oh), the protagonist, the typical depiction of the legendary Don Juan figure, whose main mission in life is to seduce as many women as possible. He achieves this end through trickery and sweet talk. In Naples, he steals into Isabela’s room under cover of darkness, disguised as Duke Octavio, her lover. When Isabela calls for light after their sexual encounter, his true identity is revealed. He is immediately arrested, only to be permitted to escape through the connivance of his uncle, Don Pedro Tenorio, the Spanish ambassador to Italy. Don Juan next seduces Tisbea, a fisherman’s daughter. Upon arriving in Seville, Don Juan discovers that the king has arranged his marriage to Doña Ana, who is in love with her cousin, the Marqués de la Mota. Don Juan, using trickery, insinuates himself into one of their nightly trysts, but when Doña Ana screams, her father, Don Gonzalo de Ulloa, enters the room and engages in a duel with Don Juan, who kills the old man. Don Juan makes hasty tracks from Seville to a small village where Aminta is planning to marry Batricio, but Don Juan steals into Aminta’s bed before the nuptials. Meanwhile Duke Octavio, having learned of Don Juan’s defiling of Isabela, presses Don Juan to marry her, to make her an “honest woman.” Don Juan comes to the tomb of Don Gonzalo and reads the inscription: “Here the most loyal knight waits for the Lord to wreak vengeance upon a traitor.” Affronted by the inscription, Don Juan completely forgets that in...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Conlon, Raymond. “The Burlador and the Burlados: A Sinister Connection.” Bulletin of the Comediantes 42, no. 1 (Summer, 1990): 5-22. Discusses the symbolic connection between Don Juan and Duke Octavio, examining and comparing their treatment of women.

McClelland, I. L. Tirso de Molina: Studies in Dramatic Realism. Liverpool: Institute of Hispanic Studies, 1948. Discusses how Tirso’s drama prefigures the dramatic ideals of the eighteenth century. Defines realism in the Trickster of Seville; gives Tirso’s concept of the supernatural.

Weinstein, Leo. The Metamorphoses of Don Juan. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1959. Traces the origin of the Don Juan legend to Tirso’s The Trickster of Seville and explains Don Juan as a practical joker. Shows how various authors have modified the original story.

Wilson, Maragret. Spanish Drama of the Golden Age. New York: Pergamon Press, 1969. An excellent summary of the characteristics of the new comedia created by Vega Carpio. Compares Tirso’s comedias with those of Vega Carpio; chapters and 7 and 8 contain a helpful explanation of The Trickster of Seville.