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Trickster of Seville


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AT: The Rogue/The Playboy/The Joker/The Deceiver of Seville A: Tirso de Molina Pf: 1625, Naples Pb: 1630 Tr: 1923 G: Drama in 3 acts; Spanish verse S: Naples, Tarragona, Seville, and Dos Hermanas, 14th c. C: 14m, 6f, extrasAt the Court of Naples Don Juan seduces the Duchess Isabella by pretending to be her fiancé. He manages to escape only thanks to the help of his uncle, the Spanish ambassador. On his voyage to Spain, his ship is wrecked and he is saved by a fishermaiden, whom he promptly seduces. Once back at the Court of Seville, he is ordered by the king to marry Isabella in order to restore her honour. Her desperate fiancé is compensated with the hand of Donna Anna. She is not best pleased, since she loves another, the Marquese de la Mota. Once again pretending to be her lover, Don Juan succeeds in gaining access to Donna Anna. However, Anna recognizes him in time and calls for help. Her father arrives and is killed by Don Juan in a sword fight. The unfortunate Marquese is arrested for the crime, while Don Juan occupies himself by seducing the peasant girl Aminta on her wedding day. Don Juan now invites the statue of Anna's father to a banquet. The statue appears and challenges Don Juan to come with him into his tomb. Finally, Don Juan's servant describes to all the victims of his lechery how in the tomb he began to experience the torments awaiting him in hell and was dragged off to his death. The King is now able to pair off the ill-treated lovers.

AT: The Rogue/The Playboy/The Joker/The Deceiver of Seville A: Tirso de Molina Pf: 1625, Naples Pb: 1630 Tr: 1923 G: Drama in 3 acts; Spanish verse S: Naples, Tarragona, Seville, and Dos Hermanas, 14th c. C: 14m, 6f, extras

Molina's work is now best known as the original on which Mozart's Don Giovanni (1787) was ultimately based and has also been adapted by playwrights as diverse as Molière (1665), Grabbe (1829), Pushkin (1836), Alexandre Dumas (1836), Zorrilla (1844), Shaw (1903), E. Rostand (1921), Horváth (1937), Tennessee Williams (1953), and Max Frisch (1953). However, Molina's play deserves attention not just as source material, but in its own right as a piece distinguished by an absorbing plot and bold characterization. While Molina confronts an audience with a moral tale in which the protagonist is given his just deserts for his immoral behaviour, it is impossible not to enjoy the skill with which Don Juan exploits each situation to achieve his goal. In the moral ambiguities of the story lie not only the pleasure of this play but also the longevity of the theme.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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