Title

DREAMS, FANTASY AND HISTORICAL REALITIES: A COMPARISON OF SHAKESPEARE AND CALDERÓN DE LA BARCA

Presenter Information

Marissa Barnard

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

The playwrights of Europe contributed immensely to the flowering of cultural and artistic expression that marked the Renaissance. The most famous of these men is William Shakespeare, but his contemporary, the prolific Spanish author Pedro Calderón de la Barca, similarly lives on as one of the masters of the Spanish language. A multi-faceted man of many talents and interests, Calderón de la Barca was a Catholic priest, writer, poet, and dramatist. His work largely defined the Baroque era of Spanish comedia (theatre), a cultural phenomenon in which many aspects of Spanish society were reflected. A strictly hierarchical, highly Catholic country, rules for the theatre were just as strict as those for the rest of society. Shakespeare, meanwhile, lived in a relatively more open culture that permitted a more liberal writing style.

This study is composed of a literary analysis from a historian’s perspective of the overlapping and differing influences on the work of these two great men. In particular, I examine the function of dreams and fantasy in their work in an attempt to decipher the ways in which their separate social conditions determined the use of an alternative reality within their plays. Specifically, I concentrate on Calderón de la Barca’s famous La Vida es Sueño (Life is a Dream) and Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Side by side, it becomes easy to see the different functions that fantasy and dreams serve in their work, but also the different functions that plays and literature served within their separate societies.

Category

Humanities

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Apr 15th, 9:40 AM Apr 15th, 10:00 AM

DREAMS, FANTASY AND HISTORICAL REALITIES: A COMPARISON OF SHAKESPEARE AND CALDERÓN DE LA BARCA

UC 330

The playwrights of Europe contributed immensely to the flowering of cultural and artistic expression that marked the Renaissance. The most famous of these men is William Shakespeare, but his contemporary, the prolific Spanish author Pedro Calderón de la Barca, similarly lives on as one of the masters of the Spanish language. A multi-faceted man of many talents and interests, Calderón de la Barca was a Catholic priest, writer, poet, and dramatist. His work largely defined the Baroque era of Spanish comedia (theatre), a cultural phenomenon in which many aspects of Spanish society were reflected. A strictly hierarchical, highly Catholic country, rules for the theatre were just as strict as those for the rest of society. Shakespeare, meanwhile, lived in a relatively more open culture that permitted a more liberal writing style.

This study is composed of a literary analysis from a historian’s perspective of the overlapping and differing influences on the work of these two great men. In particular, I examine the function of dreams and fantasy in their work in an attempt to decipher the ways in which their separate social conditions determined the use of an alternative reality within their plays. Specifically, I concentrate on Calderón de la Barca’s famous La Vida es Sueño (Life is a Dream) and Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Side by side, it becomes easy to see the different functions that fantasy and dreams serve in their work, but also the different functions that plays and literature served within their separate societies.