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Protagonist in the theatre of Antonio Buero Vallejo Yada, Dorothy Elizabeth 1970-12-31

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THE PROTAGONIST IN THE THEATRE OF ANTONIO BUERO VALLEJO  DOROTHY ELIZABETH YADA B.A., U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1 63 Q  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of HISPANIC AND ITALIAN STUDIES  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1970.  In  presenting  an  advanced  the I  Library  further  for  degree shall  agree  scholarly  by  his  of  this  written  this  thesis  in  at  University  the  make  that  it  purposes  for  may  be  It  of  of  Columbia,  British  available for  by  the  understood  gain  for  extensive  granted  is  financial  fulfilment  shall  be  H i s p a n i c and  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada  September  30,  Italian  Columbia  1970.  Studies  requirements  reference  Head  that  not  the  copying  permission.  Department of  Date  freely  permission  representatives. thesis  partial  of  agree  and  of my  I  this  or  allowed  without  that  study. thesis  Department  copying  for  or  publication my  ABSTRACT  The purpose of t h i s t h e s i s i s t o study the protagonists i n the theatre of Antonio Buero V a l l e j o and the themes that are demonstrated by means of them. In the f i r s t chapters the plays are grouped e s s e n t i a l l y c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y and the protagonists of each are discussed. The concluding chapter attempts t o consolidate the f i n d i n , of the preceding chapters and examines the general c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and the chronological e v o l u t i o n of Buero's protagonists.  iii  WORKS BY ANTONIO BUERO VALLEJO  H i s t o r i a de una escalera  1  9  ^  9  Las palabras en l a arena  1  9  ^  9  En l a ardiente oscuridad  1  9  5  0  La t e j e d o r a de suenos  1  9  5  2  La serial que se espera  1  9  5  2  Casi un cuento de hadas  1  9  5  3  Madrugada  1  1953  Irene o e l tesoro  1  9  5  ^  Hoy es f i e s t a  1  9  5  6  Las cartas boca abajo  1  9  5  7  Un sonador para un pueblo  1  9  5  8  i960  Las Meninas  Hamlet, P r i n c i p e de Dinamarca (Shakespeare) 1 9 6 1 E l concierto de San Ovidio  1  9  6  2  Aventura en l o g r i s ( d e f i n i t i v e v e r s i o n ) 1  9  6  3  La doble h i s t o r i a d e l doctor Valmy  9  6  ^  1  Madre Coraje y sus h i j o s ( B e r t o i t Brecht) E l tragaluz  1  1  9 9  6 6  6 7  TABLE OF CONTENTS Page INTRODUCTION  v  CHAPTER I :  Some E a r l y Plays En l a ardiente oscuridad Las palabras en l a arena La tejedora de suenos  CHAPTER I I :  Plays Written i n 1952 and 1953 La serial que se espera Casi un cuento de hadas Madrugada  11  CHAPTER I I I :  Works Depicting Contemporary S o c i a l E v i l s H i s t o r i a de una escalera Hoy es f i e s t a Las cartas boca abajo Irene o e l tesoro  17  CHAPTER IV :  S o c i a l C r i t i c i s m from an H i s t o r i c a l Viewpoint Un sonador para un pueblo Las Meninas E l concierto de'San Ovidio  CHAPTER V  :  CHAPTER VI  BIBLIOGRAPHY  1  3^  Recent Plays (1963, 1967) Aventura en l o g r i s El traealuz  h9  Conclusion  67  77  V  INTRODUCTION  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o i s a humanist; h i s p r i n c i p a l preoccupat i o n i s man.  Thus, a study of h i s protagonists i s relevant t o an under-  standing of h i s t h e a t r e . E x i s t e n t i a l , moral, and s o c i a l problems are inseparable i n Buero's theatre and these are the problems that h i s protagonists demonstrate.  His characters may be viewed on three l e v e l s : on the  s u p e r f i c i a l l e v e l of t h e i r immediate problem i n the p l o t , on the l e v e l of the s o c i a l c o n d i t i o n i n which they are s i t u a t e d , and on the u n i v e r s a l l e v e l of t h e i r p o r t r a y a l o f man as a moral being faced w i t h the problem of g i v i n g meaning t o h i s existence. However, Buero's protagonists are more than symbols of e x i s t e n t i a l , moral, and s o c i a l p o s i t i o n s . He was g r e a t l y influenced by Unamuno's ideas on p e r s o n a l i t y and free w i l l and h i s characters come t o l i f e as i n d i v i d u a l p e r s o n a l i t i e s who are faced with a choice or have made a choice i n the past.  Frequently they end i n f a i l u r e  and Buero's theatre i s sometimes considered t o be p e s s i m i s t i c . Jose Monleon suggests that the meaning o f Buero's tragedy i s "Hay que tener esperanza y, a l mismo tiempo  es tonto tenerla""!'  He sees the i n f l u e n c e of Camus and the idea t h a t :  1.  Jose Monleon, E l M i r l o Blanco 1 0 : Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , Madrid, Taurus Ediciones, 1 9 6 8 , p . 2 9 .  vi  " E l absurdo e x i s t e porque e l hombre esta sometido a l a c o n t r a d i c c i o n entre su r a c i o n a l i d a d y e l caos de su entorno, entre su necesidad de entender y ord^nar e l mundo y e l desorden y l a a r b i t r a r i e d a d que l o envuelven". However, B u e r o , himself does not b e l i e v e that tragedy i s pessimistic.  He states t h a t :  "La tragedia no surge cuando se cree en l a fuerza i n f a l i b l e d e l destino, sino cuando, consciente o inconscientemente, se empieza a poner en cuestion a l destino. La t r a g e d i a i n t e n t a explorar de que modo l a s torpezas humanas se d i s f r a z a n de destino". Much of the e x i s t i n g e v i l i n the world r e s u l t s from man's own imperfection, egoism, and immorality.  In the realm of s o c i a l and  moral e v i l s there i s much that man can do t o improve e x i s t i n g condit i o n s , even though changes may appear t o be unattainable.  Although  complete s o l u t i o n s t o the problems are impossible, one can s a t i s f y his anguish t o a c e r t a i n extent by g i v i n g supreme value and importance to man and d i r e c t i n g h i s a t t e n t i o n t o improving the q u a l i t y of l i f e as we know i t . However, the i n d i v i d u a l i s l i m i t e d i n h i s e f f o r t s t o do so both by s o c i e t y and by h i s own imperfection.  His need f o r freedom  c o n f l i c t s with h i s need f o r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y towards h i s f e l l o w man and he i s t o r t u r e d by h i s conscience when he has behaved i r r e s p o n s i b l y . He needs love and understanding, but he f e e l s i s o l a t e d from others p a r t l y because of h i s l a c k of communication with them. o b s t a c l e s , the surrounding  In the face of these  chaos, and the c e r t a i n t y of death, the desire  to give meaning t o l i f e appears t o be f u t i l e .  Buero's characters demonstrate  t h i s dilemma.  2.  loc. c i t .  3.  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , "Sobre t e a t r o " , E l m i r l o bianco 1 0 : Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , ed. Jose Monleon, Madrid, Taurus Ediciones, 1 9 6 8 , p . 6 2 .  CHAPTER  I  Some E a r l y Plays En l a ardiente oscuridad Las palabras en l a arena La t e j e d o r a de suenos  With the exception of H i s t o r i a de una e s c a l e r a , which appeared i n 1 9 ^ 9 » Buero's e a r l y plays are e s s e n t i a l l y e x i s t e n t i a l i n theme.  The protagonists are confronted with the problem of  how t o l i v e t o give meaning t o t h e i r l i f e i n the midst of so much s u f f e r i n g and f r a i l t y and i n the face of death which awaits everyone.  Of course, a perfect s o l u t i o n t o t h i s problem i s impossible  and the search causes them t o be i n continual c o n f l i c t with others as w e l l as w i t h i n themselves. En l a ardiente oscuridad, Buero's f i r s t p l a y , was w r i t t e n  ,A i n one week i n the summer of 1 9 ^ 6 .  .  .  . . .  I t i s set i n an i n s t i t u t i o n  for the b l i n d i n which the residents are l i v i n g happy, "normal" lives.  They are b l i n d not only p h y s i c a l l y , but a l s o s p i r i t u a l l y .  They are b l i n d t o the i n t o l e r a b l e , true nature of t h e i r existence. Like humanity i n general, they have t r i e d t o forget the t r u t h of t h e i r l i m i t a t i o n s and have searched f o r happiness by conforming t o the standard goals of a happy l i f e - l o v e , marriage, and amusements, such as sports. Ignacio, a new a r r i v a l at the i n s t i t u t e , w i l l not accept his f a t e ( i e . h i s p h y s i c a l blindness which represents man's l i m i t a t i o n s h. Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , En l a ardiente oscuridad Cadiz, Ediciones A l f i l , 1 9 5 ^ , p . 8 6 .  (comentario),  - 2 -  and l a c k o f understanding) and struggles against i t c e a s e l e s s l y .  He  disrupts the happy atmosphere of the i n s t i t u t e and gradually succeeds i n winning the majority of the inhabitants over t o h i s way of t h i n k i n g . He even gains the symphathy of Juana, the g i r l f r i e n d of Carlos. Carlos i s the main advocator of the happy, carefree l i f e of  unquestioning  conformity.  He represents the majority of humanity  i n h i s choice of accepting l i f e as i t i s and i s the more sympathetic of the two protagonists. Ignacio's personal appearance r e f l e c t s h i s state of mind. He appears i n the play dressed i n black and rather unkempt i n comparison t o the others who are neat and gay.  He i n s i s t s on using h i s  s t i c k t o walk w i t h , while the others do not use one i n s i d e the institute. His father i s overly p r o t e c t i v e of him.  For example, he does  not want him t o play sports because t h i s would be too dangerous. Ignacio i s i n d i f f e r e n t t o everyone's e f f o r t s t o help him.  He r e j e c t s  the e f f o r t s of h i s b l i n d companions t o b e f r i e n d him, saying that he wants r e a l f r i e n d s , not " i l u s o s " and threatens t o leave the i n s t i t u t e . A f t e r Juana persuades him t o stay, he warns her that he i s burning i n the darkness and w i l l make them burn a l s o . In h i s commentary on the p l a y , Buero informs us that Ignacio's metaphysical  anguish i s  "tan inconcreta que, como ciego, l l e g a a c o n f u n d i r l a para dojicamente con e l deseo de re'solver su concreta desgracia f i s i c a . " 5.  I b i d . , p. 89.  - 3  -  He explains h i s use of blindness as a symbol and the r o l e of Ignacio i n r e l a t i o n s h i p t o i t . " E l simbolo de l a ceguera - de l a s t i n i e b l a s - es dobie. Su o t r a cara l a constituyen l a v i s i o n y l a l u z . Una l u z que no es f i s i c a sino cualquier suerte de iluminacion s u p e r i o r , r a c i o n a l o i r r a c i o n a l que pueda distender o suprimir nuestras l i m i t a c i o n e s . E l "Ignacio" de mi obra anhela l a " l u z " pero no l a t i e n e , n i l a tuvo. Con esto queda c l a r o que no es un mesias aunque su actuacion sea parcialmente mesianica, no puede s e r l o porque es un pobre ser humano cargado de pasiones encontradas, que busca l a l u z s i n s e r , a veces, demasiado bueno. Y t a l vez por e l l o l a l u g se l e niegue. Pero se l e ha dado e l anhelo, y no es poco." Although Ignacio i s the only character i n the play who i s s p i r i t u a l l y awake i n that he denies the " b l i n d " l i f e of conformity and w i l l not r e s i g n himself to l i v i n g without l i g h t (or enlightenment), he i s unsympathetic  because he i s completely e g o i s t i c and i s unnec-  e s s a r i l y unkind to the others.  I t may be that he i s a c t u a l l y h e l p i n g  them by t r y i n g t o awaken them t o the t r u t h , but there i s something negative about h i s approach.  On the s u p e r f i c i a l l e v e l of p h y s i c a l  b l i n d n e s s , he i s t r y i n g t o a l t e r what i s e s s e n t i a l l y unchangeable. I t seems that i t would be b e t t e r t o adjust t o the e x i s t i n g conditions as w e l l as working f o r improvement. The fact that h i s struggle cannot p o s s i b l y be successful i n the world as we know i t i s recognized by C a r l o s , who t e l l s Ignacio that what he r e a l l y wants i s to d i e .  Complete enlightenment  or  p e r f e c t i o n i s impossible i n l i f e . Ignacio succeeds i n changing the atmosphere of the i n s t i t u t e completely.  The students no longer care about t h e i r work or t h e i r  personal appearence, because he t e l l s them that these things do not matter when they cannot see. 6.  Ibid. , p.86 .  -  h -  Only C a r l o s c h a l l e n g e s I g n a c i o ' s views, m a i n t a i n i n g t h a t s e e i n g people have other handicaps his  and everyone must make t h e b e s t o f  l o t . I g n a c i o c o u n t e r s t h i s r e a s o n i n g c r u e l l y , by s i l e n t l y moving a  p i e c e o f f u r n i t u r e i n o r d e r t o t r i p him. E v e r y t h i n g C a r l o s b e l i e v e d i n has been d e s t r o y e d ; even Juana has t r a n s f e r r e d h e r a f f e c t i o n t o I g n a c i o . ful life  F i n a l l y , a f t e r being  unsuccess-  i n pleading with Ignacio t o allow the others t o r e t u r n t o the o l d and l a t e r begging  him t o l e a v e t h e i n s t i t u t e , C a r l o s becomes o v e r -  come by hate and murders I g n a c i o . The  o t h e r s seem t o be r e l i e v e d by I g n a c i o ' s d e a t h ,  believing  t h a t he committed s u i c i d e , s i n c e he was such an unhappy p e r s o n .  They  w i l l return t o the o l d l i f e . I g n a c i o has had h i s v i c t o r y , however. a g a i n be a b l e t o l i v e p e a c e f u l l y w i t h i n h i m s e l f . mented, m i s e r a b l e  s o u l t h a t I g n a c i o was.  C a r l o s w i l l now never He i s now t h e t o r -  He now b e g i n s t o see t h a t  the problem o f man's d e s t i n y i s an unfathomable q u e s t i o n .  However,  a l t h o u g h he r e a l i z e s t h a t he was wrong, he w i l l never admit i t t o anyone. S i m i l a r l y , he w i l l not admit t h a t he murdered I g n a c i o , but w i l l the r e s t o f h i s l i f e  spend  l o n e l y and tormented by h i s c o n s c i e n c e .  C a r l o s , Buero e x p l a i n s , i s one o f t h o s e who "dudan en su i n t e r i o r de l a s o l i d e z de su " c i e g a t r a n q u i l i d a d " , pero que m o r i r i a n antes de c o n f e s a r que no e s t a n t a n ciegos." If  we i d e n t i f y w i t h C a r l o s we a r e f o r c e d t o wonder what we, o r  our s o c i e t y , a r e capable o f d o i n g t o t h o s e who d i f f e r from us i n t h e i r  7.  I b i d . , p.90-  - 5 -  way of t h i n k i n g or who threaten t o awaken us t o the unbearable, true nature of our existence, which we t r y t o forget or deny. The play presents a d i f f i c u l t problem because the philosophies of both Carlos and Ignacio are p a r t i a l l y c o r r e c t , but are i n s u f f i c i e n t i n themselves.  I t i s wrong t o l i v e a f a l s e l i f e , b l i n d t o the t r u t h  and i s o l a t i n g oneself from the .doubt and s u f f e r i n g of r e a l i t y , but i n order t o l i v e , one must adjust oneself t o the e x i s t i n g conditions to a c e r t a i n extent.  One must accept l i f e as an end i n i t s e l f , and  being aware o f i t s incomprehensible aspects and i t s imperfection, work towards greater understanding and improvements. Buero explains that the c o n f l i c t i s " l a i n s o l u b l e contradiccion de dos posturas en e l fondo analogas. Porque Ignacio es un sonador de l a s verdades que desconoce y por eso parece un r a d i c a l e i n t r a s i g e n t e r e a l i s t a ; mientras Carlos y su c o l e g i o , t a n r e a l i s t a s y p o s i t i v o s en su proyecto de v i d a como pocos amigos de inmateriales inquietudes, suenan e l sueflo inconsistente y vago de sus i l u s i o n e s de normal i d a d . . . . Una agonia humana frente. a l destino se a r t i c u l a en l a oposicion de estas dos p a r c i a l e s verdades. Ignacio t i e n e su claroscuro. La I n s t i t u c i o n a quien combate posee e l suyo. E l antagonismo entre estas dos sombras p a r c i a l e s que no l l e g a n a formar l a l u z completa, pero que l o pretenden es tambien, a su manera, e d i f i c a n t e . Las palabras en l a arena, w r i t t e n i n 19k8 and f i r s t performed i n 19^-9,^  i s a one act play set i n B i b l i c a l times. At the scene of the attempted stoning of an a d u l t r e s s , the  protagonist, Asaf, i s warned by C h r i s t that he i s a murderer.  He w i l l  not t e l l h i s f r i e n d s what C h r i s t wrote i n the sand f o r him, because he does not want t o b e l i e v e i t and i s a f r a i d they w i l l t h i n k i t i s t r u e .  8.  I b i d . , p. 91,  9.  I s a b e l Magarla S c h e w i l l , ed. , Dos dramas de Buero V a l l e j o (Introducc i o n ) , New York, Appleton - Century - C r o f t s , 196^, p.2.  - 6 -  Upon r e t u r n i n g home he f i n d s that h i s wife has been having an a f f a i r with a Roman s o l d i e r , becomes enraged, and k i l l s her. i s then i n complete misery over what he has done.  He  What C h r i s t wrote  for him was t r u e . One i s tempted t o i n t e r p r e t the play as showing that man i s predestined i r r e v o c a b l y t o a c e r t a i n , unchangeable f a t e . was not Buero's i n t e n t i o n , however.  This  I t should be i n t e r p r e t e d as a  warning that we are a l l capable of murder even though we may not suspect i t and we must guard against i t . Asaf was warned and should have recognized the p o s s i b i l i t y o f the accusation^ being true and chosen t o make i t untrue. Violence solves nothing. h i s wife?  What does Asaf achieve by murdering  By doing so he loses everything - h i s w i f e , whom he  b e l i e v e d he loved, h i s happiness, and h i s freedom. vencido".  He i s "un hombre  He w i l l be punished by s o c i e t y and by remorse f o r the  r e s t of h i s l i f e . On the other hand, everything would have been a l l r i g h t i f he had forgiven her as C h r i s t had taught. been l o s t .  Nothing would have  I f he had r e a l l y loved her and forgiven her, they could  have l i v e d happily i n the true love that h i s forgiveness would have proven. We are probably a l l capable of v i o l e n c e as a heritage from our cave ancestors, but i t i s time we changed our nature and our e n v i ronment.  Buero demonstrates, time and time again, that violence  - 7 -  solves nothing and leads only to misery and despair. Love, kindness, and f o r g i v e n e s s , on the other hand, are p o s i t i v e f e e l i n g s which give value to humanity and l e a d t o hope and happiness. La tejedora de suenos, Buero's v e r s i o n of the story of Ulysses and Penelope, was w r i t t e n i n 1950 and f i r s t produced i n 1 9 5 2 .  The  10  p l o t f o l l o w s the e x t e r n a l events of the legend of Penelope e x a c t l y , but she i s not p i c t u r e d as the opitome of the chaste, f a i t h f u l , wife f o r which she has been famous.  In Buero's p l a y , she has been f a i t h f u l t o  Ulysses outwardly, but has inwardly enjoyed having s u i t o r s court her and has dreamt of a p o s s i b l e true love with one of them - Anfino who i s d i f f e r e n t from the others because he r e a l l y loves her and sees her as a b e a u t i f u l queen, whereas the others are only i n t e r e s t e d i n gaining her kingdom or amusing themselves w i t h the palace slaves. Penelope dreams of Anfino while she i s weaving, although everyone b e l i e v e s t h a t she i s w a i t i n g f o r Ulysses t o r e t u r n .  She  wants to choose Anfino from among the s u i t o r s , but she i s a f r a i d that i f she does, the others w i l l k i l l him.  She i s a weaver of dreams,  but does not dare act t o f u l f i l l them.  At night she unweaves them to  keep the s u i t o r s w a i t i n g and continue her dreaming. F i n a l l y , she reveals her true f e e l i n g s t o A n f i n o , who to challenge the other s u i t o r s to combat i n order t o win her.  offers He i s  sincere i n h i s love f o r her, c o n t i n u a l l y protects her and her son, and does not j o i n i n the r e v e l r y and s e l f i s h pleasures of the other s u i t o r s .  10.  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , La t e j e d o r a de suenos (comentario), Madrid, Ediciones A l f i l , 1952, p.77.  - 8 -  A f t e r the stranger (Ulysses disguised) has suggested a t e s t f o r the s u i t o r s w i t h Ulysses' bow and arrow, Penelope wants Anfino t o t r y them out ahead of time, but he i s too noble and honest to take an u n f a i r advantage.  A f t e r a l l the s u i t o r s have f a i l e d the  t e s t , Ulysses, who can s t i l l s t r e t c h the bow i n s p i t e of h i s age, k i l l s them a l l w i t h i t from the balcony while they attempt t o f l e e from him.  A n f i n o , however, comes up t o face him honourably. Penelope i s f u r i o u s .  She w i l l always remain f a i t h f u l t o  the memory of Anfino who was noble and good and loved her f o r herself. Ulysses was petty and cowardly.  He was a coward because  he returned d i s g u i s e d , a f r a i d of what he would f i n d and because he k i l l e d the s u i t o r s from the balcony, dishonourably. He doubted her love and f a i t h f u l n e s s and he doubted h i s own worth and that she could s t i l l love him.  I f he had not come i n disguise she might have  t r a n s f e r r e d her dreams t o him, since she had not yet revealed her true f e e l i n g s f o r Anfino before h i s r e t u r n .  She upbraids him:  "Ahora debo d e c i r t e que t u cobardia l o ha perdido todo. Porque nada, lentiendelo bienMn'ada! habia ocurrido entre Anfino y yo antes de t u l l e g a d a , salvo mis pobres suenos s o l i t a r i o s . Y s i t u me hubieses ofrecido con s e n c i l l e z y v a l o r tus canas ennoblecidas por l a guerra y l o s azares, i t a l vez! yo h a b r i a reaccionado a tiempo. Hubieras s i d o , a pesar de todo, e l hombre de corazon con quien toda mujer suefla... E l U l i s e s con quien yo sofie, a h i , l o s primeros anos. . . IY no este astuto patan, h i p o e r i t a y temeroso, que se me presenta como un v i e j o r u i n para acabar de destruirme toda i l u s i o n p o s i b l e ! " H  11.  I b i d . , p. 69.  - 9  -  Ulysses does not r e a l l y care whether she loves him or not, as long as t h e i r r e p u t a t i o n i s saved.  His values are seen as a r t i f i -  c i a l , since he values outward appearance more than inward f e e l i n g . A song he composed e x a l t s her f a i t h f u l n e s s and t h i s i s how  history  w i l l remember her, even though, i r o n i c a l l y , she i s going to be f a i t h f u l to Anfino and w i l l j u s t wait f o r death to be reunited with him. Ulysses i s shown as a man of a c t i o n , without p r i n c i p l e s . The reason f o r h i s fame i s h i s b r u t i s h , p h y s i c a l strength.  He has  wasted h i s l i f e away at f o r e i g n wars, because d e s t r u c t i o n was what his p h y s i c a l prowess s u i t e d him f o r . For l o v e , generosity, and peace he was unsuited, f o r l i f e , i n i t s true meaning, he was a l o s e r . He i s contrasted to Anfino who was pure and noble and was thus out of place i n a world which does not value t h i s .  Buero  comments on Anfino: "De todas l a s funestas realidades d e l hombre: crimenes, guerras, i n f i d e l i d a d e s , odios, despotismos, t r a i c i o n e s , mentiras; de todas esas cosas que poseen a U l i s e s y que r e f l e j a n l a ausencia de amor entre l o s seres humanos, estaba l i b r e Anfino. Claro es que de esas cosas se forma gran parte de l a v i d a co- ^ l e c t i v a , y por eso Anfino era un ser :poco apto para l a v i d a . " Penelope hopes f o r a day when a l l men w i l l be l i k e Anfino and war w i l l not exi s t . "Que tengan corazon para nosotras y bondad para todos , que no guerreen. n i nos abandonen Pero para eso f a l t a una p a l a bra u n i v e r s a l de amor que solo l a s mujeres sonamos.... a veces."  12.  Ibid., p . 8 3 .  13.  Ibid., p . 7 2 .  - 10  -  P e n e l o p e h a s l o s t o u t w a r d l y , h u t won the  easy, compromising  affection battle, for  Anfino.  Although  s o l u t i o n w o u l d he t o p r e t e n d t o t r a n s f e r  t o h e r r e n o w n e d h u s b a n d who  she c h o o s e s  inwardly.  has a t l a s t r e t u r n e d f r o m  i n s t e a d to remain f a i t h f u l t o her i d e a l  love  her  - 11 -  CHAPTER I I Plays Written i n 1952 and 1953 La senal que se espera Casi un cuento de hadas Madrugada  The three plays i n t h i s chapter are generally considered to he of l e s s e r importance than Buero's other p l a y s .  Although  they  have t r a g i c undercurrents and contain many of the themes that are found throughout Buero's works, the three may "be considered as experiments or dramatic exercises which Buero t r i e d once and then r e j e c t e d .  La serial que se espera, which i s set i n  G a l i c i a w i t h i t s t r a d i t i o n of mysterious f o l k l o r e , ends completely happily.  Casi un cuento de hadas  i s a r e a l i s t i c adaptation of  a f a i r y t a l e and uses two actors t o portray one character. Madrugada i s l i k e a detective story and has u n i t y of time, place and a c t i o n .  A l a r g e clock on stage t i c k s o f f the time of the  a c t i o n which i s e x a c t l y the duration of the play i t s e l f . La senal que se espera i s the l e a s t t y p i c a l of Buero's plays. The protagonists are rather conventional, wealthy characters w i t h nothing unusual about them.  Enrique does not b e l i e v e that h i s  w i f e , Susana, r e a l l y loves him, but has the courage t o i n v i t e her o l d l o v e r , L u i s , t o spend the summer i n the country with them i n order t o f i n d out the t r u t h .  Luis comes t o convalesce because he  i s recovering from a nervous breakdown and s u f f e r i n g from amnesia about the events which preceded h i s i l l n e s s .  - 12 -  The plot- revolves around an awaited m i r a c l e .  Luis has  had  an Aeolian harp set. up i n the hope that i t w i l l play the song that he needs to remember i n order to be able to continue h i s l i f e as a composer. Susana, Luis and the servants a l l have f a i t h that the miracle w i l l occur.  Anything i s p o s s i b l e i n the mysterious G a l l i c i a n countryside. Both Susana and her husband Enrique become miserable because  of the others apparent l a c k of love f o r them and both contemplate commiting s u i c i d e . t r u t h instead.  However, both decide to discover and face the  Susana plays the song on the harp, although  she  did not know that she knew i t , and r e a l i z e s that i t i s her love f o r her husband that enabled her to do i t .  Enrique decides to ask Susana  to t e l l him the t r u t h about her love f o r Luis and f i n d s that she r e a l l y loves him a f t e r a l l . A s e r i e s of happy coincidences occurs-and the play ends i n contentment f o r a l l the characters. i s momentary and f l e e t i n g , however.  They r e a l i z e that happiness  As the f r i e n d s are u n i t e d i n a  moment of peace at the end of the p l a y , Enrique comments: " E l mundo es curioso. Es como una melodia de l a que c a s i nunca percibimos o t r a cosa que l o s sonidos ingratos Pero, a veces, viene un minuto como este: un minuto perfecto de paz y comprension. Poralguna m i s t e r i o s a l e y , se nos r e g a l a a l o s pobres seres humanos e l prodigio de l a s c o i n c i d e n c i a s . . . y de l o s momentos venturosos... La armonia de l a s esferas debiera hacerse audible ahora para nuestros pobres oidos En este minuto unico, que t a l vez no se r e p i t a en nuestra v i d a . " ^ Except f o r the themes of the importance of t r u t h and love which appear throughout Buero's works, there i s very l i t t l e i n t h i s play which i s s i m i l a r to the others.  lit.  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , La serial que se esnera. Madrid, Ediciones A l f i l , 1952, p.61,.  - 13  Casi un cuento de hadas unintelligent,  -  i s the charming story of an  hut b e a u t i f u l princess and an u g l y , but wise p r i n c e .  Rejected by everyone e l s e , they f a l l i n love with each other  and  succeed i n g i v i n g to each other the a t t r i b u t e that was p r e v i o u s l y lacking.  Riquet sees L e t i c i a as i n t e l l i g e n t and b e a u t i f u l and  L e t i c i a sees Riquet as a handsome, i d e a l p r i n c e . The play i s based on a story by P e r r a u l t , but Buero's v e r s i o n i s not a f a i r y t a l e .  Although Riquet and L e t i c i a are  brought together by a f a i r y or witch who  l i v e s i n a tower, i t i s  l o v e , not w i t c h c r a f t , that changes them. By means of t h i s s t o r y , Buero demonstrates that people can be what they want to be i f they want i t enough and have the inner strength and confidence to make i t so.  Instead of continuing  to be what others thought she was, L e t i c i a became i n t e l l i g e n t  and  subsequently the a t t i t u d e of the others towards her changed as well.  What we can be and what we seem to be can be  entirely  different. • L e t i c i a i s contrasted to her s i s t e r Laura who and i n t e l l i g e n t , but i s also mean.  i s ugly  This contrast emphasizes the  f a c t that L e t i c i a and Riquet are good and k i n d t o others  inspite  of t h e i r own shortcomings, which makes them symphathetic protagonists. Buero solved the problems of the change i n Riquet by means of using two actors to portray one character.  The handsome  - lU -  Riq_uet appears when L e t i c i a has f a i t h i n her love f o r him. He i s also seen by Laura, L e t i c i a ' s  s i s t e r , who loves him also and by  Armando, the handsome p r i n c e , when the l a t t e r i s about t o d i e . In one scene the two Riquets appear together ,when Riquet's d i s i l l u s i o n e d , miserable ugly side argues with h i s i d e a l , handsome side about whether t o leave L e t i c i a t o Armando or whether t o f i g h t to win her back. P h y s i c a l beauty i s shown t o be unimportant i n comparison to inner v i r t u e .  Riquet who i s i n t e l l i g e n t , kind and ugly i s con-  t r a s t e d t o the handsome Armando who i s described as " b r u t a l y frxo "guapo y v a c i o " . " ^  L e t i c i a recognizes the t r u t h that he would make  her v a i n and f o o l i s h again and that t h e i r marriage would be l o v e l e s s l i k e that of her mother and f a t h e r . Buero demonstrates again that the way we are seen by others i s unimportant i n comparison t o our inner self-concept.  Leticia  accepts Riquet's hand i n marriage although she knows that everyone -  w i l l t h i n k that she i s a c t i n g f o o l i s h l y again.  She knows that he  r e a l l y loves her and can give her t r u t h and understanding.  Since  Riquet has k i l l e d Armando, he can no longer be seen as a handsome, i d e a l p r i n c e , even by L e t i c i a .  However, he resolves t o l i v e i n such  a way that she may someday be able t o see him as handsome again. They w i l l always remember and keep as a goal the b e a u t i f u l ,  ideal,  unattainable Riquet of t h e i r f i r s t days together. 15.  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , Casi un cuento de hadas, Madrid, Ediciones A l f i l , 1952, p. 71.  16.  Ibid.,  p. 72.  - 15  -  Madrugada, w r i t t e n i n 1953, i s a masterpiece  as a suspense  t h r i l l e r , and contains a meaningful theme, as w e l l . In s p i t e of the fact that she i s overcome with g r i e f because of her husband's death, Amalia i s driven by the desire to know the t r u t h about whether or not he r e a l l y loved her.  She could e a s i l y  have convinced h e r s e l f that he d i d and l i v e d a happy l i f e of ease, since he had married her and had l e f t her w e l l provided-for i n h i s will.  However, since she had p r e v i o u s l y been h i s m i s t r e s s , she  i s a f r a i d that t h i s might have been only payment f o r past s e r v i c e s . She must f i n d the t r u t h even i f i t means complete misery f o r future.  her  His l o v e , even though he i s dead, i s the only t h i n g that  matters to her. Therefore, immediately  a f t e r h i s death, she puts h e r s e l f  through the agony of an i n t e r r o g a t i o n of h i s r e l a t i v e s assembled i n the e a r l y morning hours f o r only 1 3 A hours, i n an attempt to discover the t r u t h .  The r e l a t i v e s are shown to be  completely  s e l f i s h and uncharitable i n comparison t o Amalia, who  i s sincerely  kind and generous, and i s proceeding with her plan only with great difficulty. to  She almost gives up several times, but forces h e r s e l f  continue. Her husband had omitted two of the r e l a t i v e s from the w i l l  and had been d i s t a n t from her f o r several months.  Just before 17  dying he had s a i d , "Desde e l otro lado de l a muerte t e recobrare". 17-  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , "Madrugada", Teatro espanol, 1953-5^-, ed;F.C. Sainz de Robles, Madrid, A g u i l a r , 1955, p. 157.  - 16 -  When the play ends, she r e a l i z e s that he had blamed h i s brother and nephew because they had t r i e d t o slander her.  She f e e l s r e u n i t e d w i t h him  i n s p i r i t even though they have been separated by death. Again we see that i t i s one's inner f e e l i n g s that are o f value; one's r e p u t a t i o n or outer appearance are not e s s e n t i a l t o one's happiness and do not r e a l l y belong t o one as inner f e e l i n g s do.  Amalia triumphs over the others because she i s motivated by  love-; and searches f o r the t r u t h .  As one o f the r e l a t i v e s marvels:  "Es de esos pocos gue piensan que hay cosas mas importantes gue e l dinero."  18.  Ibid.,  p. 202  4  - 17 -  CHAPTER I I I Works Depicting Contemporary S o c i a l E v i l s H i s t o r i a de una e s c a l e r a Hoy es f i e s t a Las cartas boca abajo Irene o e l tesoro  The four plays t o be discussed i n t h i s chapter depict contemporary s o c i a l e v i l s .  They c r i t i c i z e conditions i n Spain,  s p e c i f i c a l l y , but the characters and problems are  completely  u n i v e r s a l , as w e l l . Although the protagonists are involved i n a personal dilemma, t h e i r main f u n c t i o n i s to be an example of or a contrast to t h e i r environment. H i s t o r i a de una escalera  was w r i t t e n e a r l i e r than the  other three p l a y s , but was d e f i n i t e l y t h e i r forerunner since i t i s a r e a l i s t i c p o r t r a y a l of the p l i g h t of the poor.  I t was f i r s t w r i t t e n  i n 1 9 ^ 7 " ^ and was Buero's f i r s t play to be performed,in 1 9 ^ 9 It was a tremendous success w i t h the p u b l i c and was the f i r s t play containing s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m a f t e r years of s u p e r f i c i a l l i g h t comedies i n Spanish theatre. I t shows the same stairway i n the same tenement b u i l d i n g three times over a t h i r t y year period.  Each generation  presented  leads the same l i f e and makes the same mistakes as the preceding There i s no s p e c i f i c protagonist i n t h i s play.  Each  character has h i s own hopes and plans f o r improvement, but no i s successful i n f u l f i l l i n g them. 19.  one.  one  One believes the answer i s i n the  Isabel Magana S c h e v i l l , Dos dramas de Buero V a l l e j o , ( i n t r o d u c t i o n ) , New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1 9 6 7 , P« 2 .  - 18  -  labour unions, another that i t l i e s i n studying, a t h i r d turns to crime. Fernando and Carmina, the young l o v e r s of the f i r s t a c t , marry other people whom they do not love f o r reasons of economic necessity.  In the f o l l o w i n g twenty y e a r s , although the two  f a m i l i e s are neighbours, they have s c a r c e l y spoken t o one  another  during a l l that time. In act I I I t h e i r c h i l d r e n , Carmina and Fernando, f a l l i n love w i t h each other i n s p i t e of the fact that t h e i r f a m i l i e s have forbidden them to see each other.  The play ends with Fernando,  the son, making t o Carmina, the daughter, the same promises, to study, work, and make a b e t t e r l i f e that h i s f a t h e r had made t o her mother twenty years before.  His father and her mother watch  t h i s scene unnoticed by t h e i r c h i l d r e n and exchange a look of infinite  melancholy. Of course, one hopes that they w i l l i n f a c t succeed i n  changing t h e i r l i v e s , but somehow i t i s doubtful that they w i l l . S o c i o l o g i c a l studies show that the same f a m i l i e s are on the welfare l i s t s f o r generations.  I t i s apparently very d i f f i c u l t t o  break the hold of one's environment.  I f t h i s i s true i n a r i c h ,  young country l i k e Canada, the problem must be even more accute i n a poorer,  more t r a d i t i o n a l country l i k e Spain. What can be done t o help the poor stop the t r e a d m i l l of  repeating the same l i f e generation a f t e r generation?  Society must  -19 help them, because i t i s almost impossible f o r them to help themselves. I f any two characters might be considered to be the p r o t a g o n i s t s , they would be the parents, Fernando and Carmina.  Perhaps,  as Borel suggests, t h e i r f a t a l mistake was not being t r u e to t h e i r love f o r each other which was the only good t h i n g they had.  It is  d o u b t f u l , however, whether marrying each other would have given them enough mutual support and strength t o change t h e i r environment. They would, of course, have been l e s s miserable than they were. In any case, the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r a deep-rooted change i n the condition of the poor l i e s with s o c i e t y as a whole. The neighbours, representative of humanity i n general, are shown t o be incapable of helping each other and are involved i n petty r i v a l r i e s and j e a l o u s i e s , g o s s i p i n g , and the fear of what the others w i l l t h i n k , which a l l prevents them from communicating with each other and sharing t h e i r burden. Hoy es f i e s t a , w r i t t e n i n 1 9 5 6 , contains many of the same elements as H i s t o r i a de una e s c a l e r a , but i t has a d e f i n i t e protagonist. S i l v e r i o i s an i n t e l l i g e n t , s k i l f u l , k i n d person who has  purposely  relegated himself t o l i v i n g w i t h and helping the poor as a p a r t i a l atonement f o r a great g u i l t that he f e e l s - the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the death of h i s wife's daughter. He loves h i s w i f e , P i l a r , who  i s deaf, very much, but i n  h i s heart, he knows that he was purposely careless w i t h her daughter. He has never had the courage to confess t h i s to h i s w i f e , although  - 20 -  he needs her forgiveness t o r e l i e v e him from the s u f f e r i n g that he endures.  He' i s a f r a i d that she w i l l he unable t o f o r g i v e him and  that he w i l l l o s e her. Twice during the play he t r i e s unsuccessfully t o t e l l the t r u t h about the l i t t l e g i r l ' s death.  Pilar  The f i r s t time he t e l l s h e r ,  knowing that she w i l l not understand because she i s unable t o make out what he i s saying.  She only knows that he i s very upset and  tormented about something.  She begs him t o make i t c l e a r t o h e r , so  that she can share h i s g r i e f , but h i s courage f a i l s him. L a t e r , he sees that the neighbours are able t o f o r g i v e Dona B a l b i n a , who has cheated them a l l by using t h e i r money f o r food when she was supposed t o buy a l o t t e r y t i c k e t with i t , i n s p i t e of the f a c t that they have been hoping a l l day that they might win, d i s c u s s i n g t h e i r humble plans f o r the money, and have been overjoyed when the f a l s e number she showed them won.  Upon f i n d i n g the t r u t h  they are enraged t o the point of k i l l i n g h e r , but they are persuaded by S i l v e r i o t o f o r g i v e her. S i l v e r i o f i n d s great hope i n t h e i r forgiveness of Dona Balbina and thinks that perhaps P i l a r would be able t o f o r g i v e him a f t e r a l l . Dona Balbina's daughter, D a n i e l a , who t o l d the t r u t h about the t i c k e t t o the neighbours, attempts t o commit s u i c i d e , but i s stopped by S i l v e r i o .  By saving her, S i l v e r i o hopes that he may have  somehow paid f o r the death of the l i t t l e g i r l k i l l e d by h i s carelessness. Daniela says that she t h i n k s of him as a f a t h e r , which i s what he should have been t o h i s wife's daughter.  - 21 -  The cause of Daniela's deep despair i s that the t r u e reason she t o l d on her mother i s that she hated her and she w i l l never he f r e e from remorse because of t h i s .  This i s p a r a l l e l t o S i l v e r i o ' s  own dilemma of f e e l i n g that the true reason f o r h i s carelessness w i t h the l i t t l e f i r l was h i s hate f o r her. He sees that day as a day of hope and pardon, and resolves t o t e l l P i l a r the t r u t h , t o stop being a coward, and t o remake h i s life.  He addresses h i s conscience or  God:  "iTiene algun sentido este extrano d i a de f i e s t a ? iDebo entenderlo como un d i a de esperanza y de perdon? i-Ha sido quiza rescatada l a v i d a de a q u e l i a nina por l a de Daniela? Pero se muy bien que solo puedes contestarme a traves de unos l a b i o s . Lo se y - l o acepto. Por quererme solo a mi mismo, deshice mi v i d a . Aunque t a r d e , he de r e h a c e r l a . He sido un malvado y despues un cobarde. Ya no l o sere mas. Se bien que e l d i a no ha terminado para mi, que aun me f a l t a l a prueba mas t e r r i b l e . . . . Ayudame a a f r o n t a r l a . However, h i s wife has not been w e l l f o r some time and she dies before he i s able to confess t o her.  She cannot f o r g i v e him  now and he w i l l have t o carry the burden of h i s g u i l t forever. was everything f o r him; now he has nothing.  She  But, the card reader reminds  us a l l as the play ends t h a t : "La esperanza nunca termina. La esperanza es i n f i n i t a . " ^ Perhaps, S i l v e r i o w i l l be able to continue hoping that P i l a r had always understood the t r u t h and had had compassion f o r him because of her love.: f o r him, or even that she can f o r g i v e him a f t e r death.  20.  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , "Hoy es f i e s t a " , Teatro espanol 1956-57, ed. F.C. Sainz de Robles, Madrid, A g u i l a r , 1958, p. 108.  21.  Ibid. ,  p.110.  - 22  -  His s u f f e r i n g r e s u l t e d from h i s l a c k of courage and the f a c t that he h i d the t r u t h . love f o r him.  He also lacked hope and f a i t h i n Pilar,'s  Therefore, h i s l i f e was based on a l i e and on despair.  Hope i s a p o s i t i v e force which can lead to action;despair does not admit that i t i s any use t r y i n g .  S i l v e r i o ' s love f o r P i l a r  was  s e l f i s h ; he would rather hide the t r u t h than r i s k l o s i n g her. Except f o r t h i s , he was a noble person who helped  others  c o n t i n u a l l y and seemed t o see l i f e i n perspective and with good judgment.  He was an i d e a l i s t , r e f e r r e d t o as "ese Quijote" by the  others. One wonders how S i l v e r i o could have hated the l i t t l e g i r l , when he had such great capacity f o r good and consideration f o r others. But a l l men  are a combination of good and e v i l and must r e a l i z e that  t h i s i s so and must struggle to c o n t r o l t h e i r bad s i d e , which may come to the surface when they l e a s t expect i t .  S i l v e r i o explains:  "Hay d i a s . . . . . en que a todos nos sale afuera l o peor, las-cosas mas b r u t a l e s e inconfesables. Dias en que nos convertimos en o t r a persona. Una persona odiosa, que llevabamos dentro~ s i n saberlo • Y esa persona somos nosotros mismos".^ S i l v e r i o had not b l i n d e d himself to the truth;he r e a l i z e d that he was capable of e v i l , that he was g u i l t y of the l i t t l e g i r l ' s death, and that he should t e l l P i l a r the t r u t h .  He d i d not have the force of  character to take immediate a c t i o n , but postponed i t u n t i l i t was late.  22.  Death had taken away h i s opportunity.  Ibid.,  p. 7 8 .  too  - 23 S i m i l a r l y a l l of us should guard against w a i t i n g too long and do what we should do before i t i s too l a t e . Las cartas boca abajo w r i t t e n i n 1 9 5 7 demonstrates the 5  great d i f f i c u l t y o f b e t t e r i n g one'sposition i n Spanish society by d e p i c t i n g the l i f e of a mediocre professor and h i s f a m i l y .  There  are fewer p o s i t i o n s than men a v a i l a b l e and p o s i t i o n s are contested by means of rigorous examinations, the outcome of which may have been determined before they have begun, because of personal recommendations and p r e j u d i c e s . F e l i x G. I l a r r a z adds t h a t : • "It deals with some of the most negative aspects o f Spanish s o c i e t y today. The l a c k of confidence between husband and w i f e , the lack of understanding between parents and c h i l d r e n and the f e e l i n g of f a i l u r e and disappointment o f the youth are some of the important features that are d e s t r u c t i v e of the t r a d i t i o n a l u n i t y and confidence of Spanish family l i f e . " ^ 3 Of course, these problems are not only Spanish but also universal. The p r i n c i p a l character, Adela, i s one of Buero's most s t r i k i n g and w e l l developed characters. She i s probably h i s best example of a person who i s s p i r i t u a l l y b l i n d and completely e g o i s t i c She i s r e f e r r e d t o as "ciega" several times during the play. not an e v i l person; nor has she ruined everyone's l i f e  She i s  intentionally  She, h e r s e l f , describes t h i s aspect of her l i f e : "Nunca l o g r e ver c l a r o en mis impulsos, en mis deseos. Todo l o h i c e a destiempo. De todo me d i cuenta tarde. 23.  F e l i x G. I l a r r a z , ed., Buero: Las cartas boca abajo, Englewood C l i f f s , New Jersey, P r e n t i c e - H a l l Inc., I 9 6 7 , p. v.  2k.  I b i d . , p. li+0.  -  2h  -  She i s a passive person, not an a c t i v e one. p l i f i e d by the untidiness of t h e i r home.  This i s exem-  She has wasted her l i f e on  a s t u p i d , i d l e dream - a dream that was negative because i t was o r i e n t e d t o the past and was completely s e l f i s h .  She has spent her  whole l i f e dreaming of F e r r e r - D i a z , a man she had taken from her s i s t e r and then l o s t h e r s e l f , when they were young.  Because of t h i s  dream, she has not given her husband the support that he needed and has even taught h i s son t o scorn him and to admire Ferrer-Diaz. For example, she knows that her husband would not want to be recommended f o r the job he i s seeking, but wants t o win i t by himself.  However, because, subconsciously, she wants him t o  be i n f e r i o r to F e r r e r - D i a z , she asks her brother t o ask Ferrer-Diaz to recommend her husband. She i s completely s e l f i s h i n her outlook and only thinks of other people i n terms of what they can do f o r her.  She wants  her mute s i s t e r , A n i t a , to t a l k , but only because t h i s w i l l ease her conscience and give her someone t o t a l k t o . She l i k e d t o have her brother, Mauro, v i s i t as long as he t o l d her the things she wanted t o hear, but had no f u r t h e r use f o r him when she found that he had l i e d t o her.  She does not want t o l e t her son go away to make a  b e t t e r l i f e f o r h i m s e l f , because she wants t o keep him w i t h her. Symbolic of her s e l f i s h a t t i t u d e i s her preoccupation with 25  the b i r d s and her e g o i s t i c desire t o f l y , t o become someone r i c h  25.  I b i d . , p. 5 8 .  - 25  and important.  -  The error of these desires i s revealed when her 26  brother Mauro destroys her image of the b i r d s ,  saying that l i k e  her they may be j o y f u l i n the morning (youth), but they are screaming w i t h f e a r at dusk. Mauro, h i m s e l f , i s completely d i s i l l u s i o n e d and immoral and l i v e s by s t e a l i n g , l y i n g , and begging. Adela's husband, Juan, i s b a s i c a l l y an honest, moral person, but he has not had the strength of character t o face the t r u t h about t h e i r l i f e u n t i l the pressure of making a f i n a l attempt at winning a higher p o s i t i o n f o r himself makes him r e a l i z e the t r u t h . , T h e i r whole l i f e has been based on a l i e . Adela married him and t r i e d t o urge him on t o success, only as revenge on Ferrer-Diaz.  During the play he begs her on several  occasions to be frank with him, saying that honesty and communicat i o n between them would mean more t o him than the p o s i t i o n he i s seeking, but she keeps s i l e n t . cards over and r e v e a l the t r u t h .  F i n a l l y , he decides to t u r n the He admits that he too has wasted  his l i f e because he has always envied Ferrer-Diaz and l o s t the p o s i t i o n he was seeking because he had not read Ferrer-Diaz's books.  He  r e a l i z e s that there i s no longer any way to remedy the s i t u a t i o n except to see i t c l e a r l y .  He sees that t h e i r son, J u a n i t o , deserves a chance  at l i f e away from the s t i f l i n g atmosphere of t h e i r bad example. He throws the emptiness and f u t i l i t y of Adela's l i f e before her:  26.  Ibid.,  p.  151.  - 26 -  "Pero, ique has ganado? Una v i d a f i c t i c i a , l l e n a de mentira; un hogar que era tambien mentira; dolor y desengafio para t u v e j e z . . . . IAh! No se como puedes perdonarte a t i misma t a n t a l o c u r a . "  ^  The f i r s t step to improving a s i t u a t i o n i s to face the truth.  Perhaps i f Adela had admitted the t r u t h e a r l i e r , even t o her-  s e l f , she could have changed her f e e l i n g s once she had recognized the s t u p i d i t y of them.  I f t h i s were impossible, she could have at l e a s t  taken a c t i o n by l e a v i n g Juan or by going t o a p s y c h i a t r i s t . Buero i s c a r e f u l to show that there was mental i l l n e s s i n her f a m i l y background and, l i k e mentally i l l people, she takes none of the blame upon h e r s e l f . v i c t i m of l i f e :  She f e e l s that she has been the  "todo me va aplastando.... nada, Inada! , para e v i t a r l o . " 2 8  s i n que yo pueda hacer  There i s even a scene i n which she accuses the others of p l o t t i n g against her. However, Adela cannot escape from her g u i l t y conscience over what she has done, since the r e s u l t s of her s e l f i s h n e s s are ever present i n a v i s i b l e form as w e l l as i n the falseness of her marriage. Her g u i l t y conscience can be s a i d to be p e r s o n i f i e d by her s i s t e r , A n i t a , who l i v e s w i t h them and who became mute as a r e s u l t of Adela's treatment of her. a f r a i d of A n i t a .  Adela i s becoming a nervous wreck because she i s She does not know what A n i t a i s t h i n k i n g or planning  and she cannot f i n d peace.  27.  Ibid.,  p.  ikO.  28.  Ibid.,  p.  58.  She admits her g u i l t to A n i t a and begs  - 27  her t o f o r g i v e h e r , hut  -  A n i t a w i l l not  t e l l s Adela that  she  o r k i t e t h a t she  f e a r s i s A n i t a or her  At the her  son and  for  her  h e r , but  end  speak.  Her  brother,  i s a f r a i d l i k e t h e b i r d s at dusk. own  i s alone with A n i t a .  forgiveness, admitting  that  she had  The  marten  conscience.  of the p l a y , Adela r e a l i z e s that  her husband and  Mauro,  she has  Once a g a i n  lost she begs  done a t e r r i b l e t h i n g t o  s t i l l t r y i n g t o excuse h e r s e l f :  "Algo t e r r i b l e t e h i c e , es c i e r t o . Y l o mas espantoso es que entonces no p a r e c i a t a n grave. S i yo h u b i e s e sabido que te podia afectar tanto..... S i h u b i e s e sabido l o caras que pueden c o s t a r todas n u e s t r a s l i g e r e z a s . " ^ 9 She  begs A n i t a t o f o r g i v e her  peace t o g e t h e r ,  but A n i t a w i l l not  so t h a t t h e y can l i v e i n  speak.  and h o r r o r a t spending t h e r e s t o f her l i f e s h r i e k o u t s i d e the Las  s e l f i s h n e s s and b l i n d n e s s .  o f humanity s i n c e she reasons, l i k e Carlos  29-  does not  15U.  Adela's  can cause h i s f e l l o w s because o f  Her  case i s s i m i l a r t o t h a t o f most  go as f a r as murdering f o r  selfish  j u s t gropes  s e l f i s h l y without b o t h e r i n g  or t o t h i n k o f what t h e r e s u l t s o f her  I b i d . , p.  possibility  for himself.  o f En l a a r d i e n t e o s c u r i d a d , but  through l i f e b l i n d l y and  true values  i s , o f c o u r s e , the  son, w i l l make a b e t t e r l i f e  example shows t h e m i s e r y t h a t man  way  birds  i s p r o b a b l y the most p e s s i m i s t i c  o f Buero's works, except t h a t t h e r e  his  l i k e t h a t , as the  balcony.  c a r t a s boca aba.jo  t h a t J u a n i t o , the  Adela i s f i l l e d with fear  to look  a c t i o n s might  her for be  - 28 -  f o r someone e l s e . ways.  She i s r e a l l y a very human character i n many  She i s very r e a l i s t i c a l l y portrayed; her f a u l t s are not  too e v i l or exaggerated.  She i s a l s o the most f r i g h t e n i n g of Buero's  characters since her f a u l t s are the unpardonable ones of s e l f i s h n e s s , thoughtlessness, p a s s i v i t y , and s e l f - d e c e p t i o n that most of us share with her. Irene o e l tesoro  appeared i n 195^, f o l l o w i n g the three  plays discussed i n Chapter I I . I t can be considered a work of s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m since i t depicts the wretched atmosphere of a m i s e r l y moneylender's appartment.  I t demonstrates the falseness  and s t u p i d i t y o f overemphasizing the importance of money and the s u f f e r i n g that t h i s causes i s magnified because i t i s seen i n an extreme s i t u a t i o n . The play also includes the f a n t a s t i c element and the ontol o g i c a l question, i n the form of the e l f who helps Irene and wonders i f he e x i s t s . Irene i s a complete contrast t o the environment o f her f a t h e r - i n - l a w , Dimas', appartment.  She i s a good, k i n d person who has  worked f o r her in-laws l i k e a s l a v e , cleaning and sewing, since the death o f her husband.  She does not complain about her miserable  life.  On the contrary she f e e l s g u i l t y because she i s not b r i n g i n g any money i n t o the house as her father-in-law would wish.  She a l s o  deeply regrets the death of her baby, who died at b i r t h , and longs t o have a c h i l d t o hold.  - 29  -  I t i s obvious that she cannot survive i n the atmosphere of her father-in-law's house.  She i s too sweet a person t o be able  to face the r e a l i t y of i t and continue to l i v e .  Even her husband's  death was a r e s u l t of her father-in-law's m i s e r l i n e s s .  He allowed  h i s son t o die because he d i d not want t o spend money on the necessary medicine. Buero mentions i n several works that there are two p o s s i b l e a l t e r n a t i v e s t o f a c i n g r e a l i t y - one i s b l i n d n e s s ; the other i s madness. I t seems that Irene has chosen the second of these two. She i s depicted as a very s e n s i t i v e person, who i s prone t o fantasy, arid i t i s very b e l i e v a b l e that she would go crazy i n such an unbearable atmosphere. However, i t i s not completely c l e a r whether or not she i s r e a l l y crazy, because although the other characters are unable t o see the e l f t h a t Irene sees, he sometimes appears when Irene i s not there. I t could be that Buero wanted t o show us that we are a l l capable of a l i t t l e madness, but i t seems more probable that he wanted t o reveal h i s b e l i e f that something marvelous and wonderful e x i s t s beyond the humdrum r e a l i t y of our d a i l y l i v e s .  This could  be i n t e r p r e t e d as God or as imagination or as something e l s e .  The  v o i c e , which d i r e c t s the e l f , denies being God: "No pronuncies esta palabra. todos nosotros."30  30.  Es demasiado elevada para  Antonio Buero "Vallejo, "Irene o e l t e s o r o " , Teatro espanol 195^-55, ed. F.C. Sainz de Robles, Madrid, A g u i l a r , 1959, p. 253-  - 30 -  But, i t seems t o represent some k i n d of harmony or source of wisdom. The e l f worries about whether he, h i m s e l f , e x i s t s . voice advises him, "esa preocupacion se t e i r a trabajando.  The Busca."'^"'"  His work, of course, i s l o o k i n g f o r the t r e a s u r e , which turns out t o be Irene's goodness. exist.  I t i s no use worrying about whether or not we  We should work to f i n d the meaning of existence as we know i t . Once the e l f has found Irene he takes her away to h i s  country by means of the b e a u t i f u l , i l l u m i n a t e d road out the balcony. Although the other characters see her as dead on the street below, she i s a l s o seen going down the road, s i n g i n g , c a r r y i n g the e l f . This could represent what Irene's own mind i s t h i n k i n g , which i s r e a l i t y f o r her.  Her h a l l u c i n a t i o n s may be i n t e r p r e t e d as h a l l u c i -  nations or as r e a l i t y since the e l f appears when she i s not there. No one knows what i s r e a l f o r someone else and sanity i s r e l a t i v e to one's point of view. S i m i l a r l y , we must have a dream and f a i t h that a miracle can be achieved i n order to have a dream f u l f i l l e d and to see the fantastic.  Most people are unaware of the marvels that imagination  could b r i n g them.  The voice informs the e l f :  "Has venido a una casa bien t r i s t e , h i j o mio. Y hay muchas a s i . En todas e l l a s v i v e n , como a q u i , pobres seres que solo a l i e n t a n para sus mezquindades, s i n sospechar s i q u i e r a que e l m i s t e r i o l o s envuelve."^^  31.  I b i d . , p. 231.  32.  I b i d . , p. 213-  - 31  -  Irene's goodness and generosity are contrasted t o the unbelievable m i s e r l i n e s s of Dimas, her f a t h e r - i n - l a w ; the hate and jealousy of h i s daughter, A u r e l i a ; and the misery and despair of his wife, Justina. Dimas has denied everything t o h i s f a m i l y .  He f i g h t s w i t h  them over the change from the groceries and makes them keep the l i g h t s out t o save on e l e c t r i c i t y .  He constantly reminds Irene that she i s  a burden and that she could not even give them a grandson.  Secretly  he r e a l i z e s that they could never f i n d a maid who would work as hard as she does and that he would have t o pay a maid, while Irene r e ceives nothing. A u r e l i a resents the love of D a n i e l , t h e i r boarder, f o r Irene and hates her f o r i t . f o r Irene's death.  She i s the most d i r e c t l y responsible  She t e l l s Daniel that i t i s useless t o t r y to  help Irene when she overhears h i s proposal of marriage t o her. L a t e r , when Irene i s locked i n her room, a f r a i d that they are going to take her t o the insane asylum, A u r e l i a pounds on her door and screams that she can't escape. J u s t i n a , driven t o despair by her husband's m i s e r l i n e s s , p l o t s t o have him committed to the insane asylum and t r i c k s him i n t o going t h e r e , by t e l l i n g him he has to take the paper t o have Irene committed.  I t i s because of t h i s t r i c k on Dimas that Irene i s made to  t h i n k that she i s the one who i s being committed and thus she i s w i l l i n g to escape w i t h the e l f .  - 32  -  Dimas i s a s i c k person and i t i s not unreasonable that he should be taken away to the asylum.  What makes h i s  committal  shocking i s the f a c t that he i s betrayed by h i s wife and f r i e n d , and  the r e a l i z a t i o n that h i s type of i l l n e s s i s accepted by  s o c i e t y as more normal than that of Irene. case of what i s s o c i a l l y  He i s only an extreme  acceptable.  Irene i s always good and kind to a l l of them and wishes to stay with them.  When the e l f has found the t r e a s u r e , she o f f e r s i t  to Dimas so that he w i l l l e t her stay there.  Of course, the others  cannot see the t r e a s u r e , since i t represents her goodness, which they do not recognize as valuable. Daniel loves Irene, but although she knows that he i s good, she b e l i e v e s that he t r i c k e d her because he was the one who brought the doctor to see her.  She cannot b e l i e v e him, because she knows  that he thought she was crazy, but she forgives him. them a l l .  She forgives  She cannot marry Daniel at the end of the p l a y , because as  the voice t e l l s the e l f , she can no longer l i v e without " l o m a r a v i l l o s o " Irene remained t r u e to her i d e a l s of goodness, kindness, and love f o r others, even though the only way she was able to do so was by means of imagination. be d i s i l l u s i o n e d by them.  She overcame the others by r e f u s i n g to  Her death, can be i n t e r p r e t e d as a reward  f o r her, since i t was a release from the h o r r i b l e environment she was i n . However, one i s tempted to b e l i e v e that she was a c t u a l l y going  33.  Ibid.,  p. 253 .  - 33 -  to Heaven or t o some happier existence, s i n g i n g down the luminous road with the e l f . The one c r i t i c i s m that might he made of Irene i s that she could have faced r e a l i t y and found a job i n another home. However, considering Irene's p e r s o n a l i t y i t i s not r e a l l y u n r e a l i s t that she would l o v e  her in-laws anyway and choose t o stay i n t h e i r  house rather than r i s k h u r t i n g t h e i r f e e l i n g s by l e a v i n g them.  - 3h  -  CHAPTER IV  S o c i a l C r i t i c i s m from an H i s t o r i a l Viewpoint Un sonador para un pueblo Las Meninas E l Concierto de San Ovidio  The three plays discussed i n t h i s chapter c r i t i c i z e contemporary s o c i a l e v i l s by d e p i c t i n g p a r a l l e l or s i m i l a r h i s t o r i a l s i t u a t i o n s , which also point t o the h i s t o r i c a l causes of contemporary problems. This i s the same technique that i s employed by Arthur M i l l e r i n The C r u c i b l e  i n which he uses the seventeenth  century  Salem witch t r i a l s t o show how the masses can be turned t o h y s t e r i c a l violence against innocent people to p a r a l l e l the s i t u a t i o n of the McCarthy era i n the United States. Un sonador para un pueblo shows how the masses can be turned against a leader who  i s a c t u a l l y t h e i r benefactor; Las Meninas shows  the immorality and hypocrisy of the wealthy, r u l i n g c l a s s , and E l Conc i e r t o de San Ovidio depicts the l a c k of m o r a l i t y and c u l t u r e of the "nouveaux r i c h e s " . Un sonador para un pueblo, 1958, i s based on an a c t u a l h i s t o r i c a l event - e l motin de Esquilache, 1766-.  I t i s s u b t i t l e d by  Buero "version l i b r e de un episodio h i s t o r i c o " and i s h i s v e r s i o n of what the personal side of the a f f a i r could have been.  The play can  be enjoyed on t h i s l e v e l as w e l l as on a symbolic l e v e l .  - 35 -  Esquilache, the prime m i n i s t e r of Carlos I I I , i s shown t o be a man of high i d e a l s , good, and heroic with the best i n t e r e s t of the common people at heart.  He works zealously t o accomplish  reforms and make h i s dreams f o r the people a r e a l i t y . He t r i e s t o set a good example by leading exemplary p r i v a t e and p u b l i c l i v e s , but i s thwarted i n t h i s attempt by h i s wife who accepts g i f t s and asks f o r favours behind h i s back and who i s having an a f f a i r with a man from the Dutch Embassy.  She has  also obtained good p o s i t i o n s f o r t h e i r sons who are useless and undeserving.  She advises Esquilache:  Her a t t i t u d e causes him great embarrassment, because he i s t r y i n g t o r u l e Spain according t o h i s p r i n c i p l e s , but people are able to see that h i s own f a m i l y i s given s p e c i a l p r i v i l e g e s .  He i s so  sincere i n h i s e f f o r t s t o improve conditions that he asks the King to give him a separation from h i s wife and take h i s sons' p o s i t i o n s away from them. He i s a l s o opposed by many of the n o b i l i t y who are content to keep things as they are or who are desireous o f personal power and who i n c i t e the masses t o r e v o l t against him. A d i r e c t contrast t o Esquilache i s the Marques of Ensenada, who was the prime m i n i s t e r before him.  Ensenada admits having l o s t  a l l h i s i l l u s i o n s long before; he no longer has f a i t h i n the people and  3^-.  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , "Un sonador para un pueblo", Teatro espanol 1958-59, ed. F. C. Sainz de Robles, Madrid, A g u i l a r , i 9 6 0 , p. 221.  - 36  -  says that he b e l i e v e s i n "todo para e l pueblo, pero s i n e l pueblo". He i s r e a l l y most i n t e r e s t e d i n power f o r h i m s e l f , since i t was who  he  i n s t i g a t e d the r e v o l t t o remove Esquilache from power, although  he knew that Esquilache t r u l y worked f o r and loved the people. Fernandita, the servant g i r l that Esquilache enjoys t a l k i n g t o , symbolizes the uneducated, but b a s i c a l l y good and honest populace i n which Esquilache always r e t a i n e d h i s f a i t h .  Esquilache sees him36  s e l f as "un nifio que todavia q u i s i e r a c o n f i a r en l o s demas" i s " l l e n o de temores".  and  However, he never loses h i s f a i t h i n the  people, although they r e v o l t against him and i n the end he asks Fernandita, as a representative of the people, to judge who i s r i g h t , himself or Ensenada.  Ensenada d i d not b e l i e v e i n the goodness  of the common people and had planned to plunge the country i n t o war to oust Esquilache and regain power f o r himself. Esquilache, given a f r e e choice by the King, had s a c r i f i c e d himself to save the country from war, because of h i s love of the people.  He t e l l s  En-  senada that the populace condemns him. Esquilache's concern f o r Fernandita symbolizes h i s concern f o r the populace.  His i n t e r e s t i s purely a l t r u i s t i c , although i t  i s i n t e r p r e t e d as otherwise by h i s wife and others.  His extreme courage  i s demonstrated when he returns to h i s house when i t i s held by the 35.  Ibid.,  p.  36.  I b i d . , p.  37-  Loc. c i t .  216. 22U.  - 37 -  r e b e l s , i n order t o rescue Fernandita and refuses t o say "muera Esquilache" even when he i s threatened w i t h v i o l e n c e . He w i l l not compromise himself.  This foreshadows h i s l a t e r supreme s a c r i f i c e  i n renouncing h i s post as prime m i n i s t e r i n order t o save the country from war.  He d i d not want the p o s i t i o n f o r h i s own p r e s t i g e or power,  but he wanted i t desperately because there was so much that he wanted to do f o r the people. Although he i s alone and miserable at the end o f the p l a y , his  s o l i t a r y f i g u r e harmonizes with the j o y f u l music i n the back-  ground because he has triumphed over Ensenada and over s e l f i s h n e s s and s t i l l has f a i t h i n the people t o create a b e t t e r f u t u r e . He had admonished Fernandita that i t was her choice whether she s l i p p e d back i n t o the clutches of Bernardo, who had raped h e r , or struggled t o be f r e e of him and t r u e t o her i d e a l s .  At the end  of the play she l i v e s up t o Esquilache's f a i t h i n her and has the strength and courage t o refuse Bernardo. S i m i l a r l y , the destiny of the common people depends on u s , ourselves.  We are f r e e t o choose our f u t u r e , i f we do not b l i n d  ourselves t o seeing the r i g h t choice or l a c k the force t o work f o r i t . Esquilache and Fernandita were both born "plebeyos" and thus represent the common people.  Although t h e i r future l i v e s might appear  to be miserable outwardly, they have triumphed inwardly over selfish-^ness and weakness, making the d i f f i c u l t , but correct choice. v i d u a l s we can i d e n t i f y w i t h them and f o l l o w t h e i r examples.  As indi^-  - 38  -  One f e e l s that Esquilache would have given h i s l i f e i f that had "been the a l t e r n a t i v e choice t o the c i v i l war.  I f he  had not been an h i s t o r i c a l character and thus had t o continue t o l i v e t o keep the d e f i n i t e h i s t o r i c a l f a c t s i n t a c t , Buero probably would have made him choose t o d i e . On the other other hand, l i f e i n e x i l e with h i s unsympat h e t i c family might be worse than death f o r him anyway. According to H. A. Myers, the appeal that the t r a g i c hero has f o r us r e s u l t s from h i s a b i l i t y to do or d i e . We wish we could 38  be l i k e him and give everything uncompromisingly f o r our cause. Esquilache i s t h i s type of hero.  However, although he i s stronger  than humanity i n general, he s t i l l has weaknesses and speaks of having doubts or fears which makes him a r e a l i s t i c , human character w i t h whom we can i d e n t i f y even more r e a d i l y . At the end of Un sonador para un pueblo there i s s t i l l no answer to the problem of what to do about the ignorant, easily-manipulated masses. the  I f we have f a i t h i n the basic goodness o f humanity,then  people must be educated t o be f u l l y aware i n order t o be able  to understand the t r u t h and support the government that i s r e a l l y best for them.  As f o r those who govern, they must be dreamers and i d e a l i s t s  as w e l l as men of a c t i o n .  38.  As Esquilache t e l l s us:  H. A. Myers "Heroes and the Way of Compromise" i n Robert W. Corrigan Tragedy: V i s i o n and Form, Chandler P u b l i s h i n g Co., San F r a n c i s c o , I965, p. 1 3 5 .  -39 "Ahora se una cosa: que ningun gobernante puede dejar de corromperse s i no suena ese s u e n o . " 3 9 F a i t h i n humanity and the r e c o g n i t i o n of the value of the human "being above a l l else are the most important t h i n g s . the  War, as  supreme destroyer of humanity and cause of human s u f f e r i n g must  be avoided at a l l costs. Buero's next p l a y , Las Meninas, century Spain at the court of F e l i p e IV.  i960,  i s set i n seventeenth  S u b t i t l e d by Buero "fanta-  s i a velazquena", i t depicts court l i f e very r e a l i s t i c a l l y and, while keeping the h i s t o r i c a l f a c t s  i n t a c t , gives a very i n t e r e s t i n g  p o r t r a y a l of what Velazquez' character may p o s s i b l y have been. According t o Rodriguez-Cast e l l a n o ^ Velazquez' preoccupations and a n x i e t i e s are those of a man of t a l e n t anywhere and anytime, and so i t i s not u n l i k e l y that Velazquez would have thought c r i t i c a l l y about the problems of s o c i e t y as Buero has him do. Buero's Velazquez i s a r e s t l e s s person, aware of the e v i l s of  s o c i e t y , but unable t o do anything about them since h i s l i f e i s  devoted t o h i s p a i n t i n g and he i s dependent on the King f o r patronage. At the same time, he i s not a f r a i d t o confront the King with the t r u t h , to defend h i m s e l f , and t o s h e l t e r Pedro i n h i s home. character because he i s superior t o everyone e l s e .  He i s a l o n e l y  Even the King has  a nightmare i n which he i s a dwarf and Velazquez i s a g i a n t .  He i s  3 9 - Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , Un sonador para un pueblo , p. 2 8 0 . Uo.  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , Las Meninas, ed. Juan Rodriguez Castellano, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1 9 6 3 , p. 6 .  - ho -  not understood by anyone except Pedro and the Princess Maria Teresa. She says that everyone else at court i s a c h i l d compared t o him. Everyone e l s e , i n c l u d i n g h i s w i f e , i s involved i n petty j e a l o u s i e s and s e l f i s h n e s s . When h i s w i f e accuses him o f t h i n k i n g of another woman, he says that he does need someone who can understand him: "A alguien que me ayude a soportar e l tormento de v e r c l a r o en este pais de ciegos y de locos."^1 The person who does understand h i s s u f f e r i n g and h i s p a i n t i n g i s the b l i n d beggar, Pedro.  Rodriguez-Castellano suggests that Pedro and  \2 Martin represent the poor people i n Spanish s o c i e t y .  However, Pedro  might a l s o be considered t o have a s p e c i a l r o l e as the other h a l f of Velazquez' own p e r s o n a l i t y . his  Pedro wanted t o p a i n t , but has spent  l i f e working a c t i v e l y f o r reform instead.  Velazquez i s tormented  by s o c i a l e v i l s , but has devoted himself t o p a i n t i n g . the  Each complements  l i f e o f the other. Pedro has returned because he needed Velazquez who i s aware  of r e a l i t y as he i s . "Ya solo se que soy un poco de carne enferma, l l e n a de miedo y en espera de l a muerte. Un hombre fatigado en busca de ^ cordura que l e haga descansar de l a l o c u r a ajena antes de m o r i r . " Velazquez f i n d s pleasure and joy i n h i s p a i n t i n g , but then f e e l s g u i l t y when he remembers the misery of the world:  hi.  I b i d . , p. hh.  k2.  I b i d . , p. 7-  h3.  I b i d . , p. 80.  -  hi  -  "No se como he podido gozar de tanta b e l l e z a en medio de tanto dolor. "^" 4  Pedro b e l i e v e s t h a t : "Solo quien ve l a b e l l e z a en e l mundo puede comprender l o i n t o l e r a b l e de su dolor. 5 Like Esquilache, Velazquez i s not a f r a i d t o t e l l the t r u t h and w i l l not be i n t i m i d a t e d even by the King. and sees things i n proper perspective.  He i s calm and l o g i c a l  He defends himself  superbly  with h i s c l e a r l o g i c when he i s t r i e d before the King and a p r i e s t for  having painted a nude (La Venus d e l espe.jo).  As Velazquez defends  himself, the hypocrisy and narrowness of s o c i e t y and the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of i t s values are revealed and c r i t i c i z e d and the accusations  against  him appear t o be r i d i c u l o u s and t o have been brought against him by those who are jealous o f him or who want t o b e t t e r t h e i r own p o s i t i o n . However, when he learns that Pedro has been k i l l e d , he loses a l l h i s composure and c r i e s openly, unable t o continue h i s defence. The only person whom he loved and who understood him i s dead. Since Pedro has been k i l l e d as a r e s u l t of h i s a c t i n g against the s t a t e , Velazquez f e e l s that Pedro has died f o r him, since he has been p a i n t i n g instead of working t o combat the e v i l s of s o c i e t y .  Pedro  wanted t o p a i n t , but has worked against the e v i l s of s o c i e t y and has paid the p r i c e of h i s l i f e f o r doing so.  Velazquez f e e l s t h a t h i s  p a i n t i n g i s worthless i n comparison t o t h i s .  kk.  I b i d : , p. 8 0 .  1+5.  I b i d . , p. 1 0 2 .  - k2  -  The King, however, r e a l i z e s Velazquez's greatness and  tells  him that he w i l l pardon him so that he can continue to p a i n t , i f he swears h i s love f o r and and l o y a l t y to the King.  Although Pedro had  advised him to l i e i f necessary to save h i s p a i n t i n g , Velazquez refuses to do so.  He remains true to h i s p r i n c i p l e s and also asks f o r punish-  ment so that he can share Pedro's s a c r i f i c e . The King pardons Velazquez i n s p i t e of the f a c t that he resents Velazquez' v i r t u e and f e e l s weak and miserable about absolving him. The King i s also annoyed by the p r i n c e s s ' love f o r Velazquez, but Maria Teresa assures him that i t i s not l o v e : "En esta Corte de galanteos y de pasiones desenfrenadas es un sentimiento s i n nombre."^"" It i s the same sentiment of which Penelope speaks and which Esquilache f e e l s f o r Fernandita.  Velazquez, a l s o ,  refers  to a k i n d of love or harmony found i n c e r t a i n , simple moments of truth.  Describing h i s p a i n t i n g , Las Meninas, he "Yo creo que l a verdad  s e n c i l l o s mas  que en l a e t i q u e t a .  says: i „  esta en esos momentos  Entonces, todo puede amarse."  As the play ends Velazquez has continued to paint and i s f i n i s h i n g Las Meninas.  I t i s described by Martin as "una p i n t u r a que  encerrara toda l a t r i s t e z a de Espafla" murmuring, "Pedro, Pedro".  As he works, Velazquez i s  He i s miserable because Pedro, the  one  person who understood him has been k i l l e d by the State, because of h6.  I b i d . , p.  165.  hi.  I b i d . , p.  95.  k&.  I b i d . , p.  168.  - ^3 -  doing what he himself believes he should have done - working a c t i v e l y against s o c i a l abuses.  Although he had not been a f r a i d  to r e v e a l h i s true f e e l i n g s t o the King and accept h i s punishment, he knows that generally he has compromised by choosing t o keep s i l e n t about the e v i l around him i n order t o be able t o p a i n t . "Estamos viviendo de mentiras o de s i l e n c i o s . Yo he he v i v i d o de s i l e n c i o s , pero me niego a mentir."^9 Pedro had chosen the other road and had died f o r him. In order t o paint Velazquez must continue t o keep s i l e n t about the t r u t h i n a world of "ciegos" and "locos".  He has won outwardly  i n h i s confrontation with the King and against h i s petty r i v a l s , but inwardly he f e e l s that he has compromised himself. E l concierto de San Ovidio,  Buero's other play i n which  the majority of the characters are b l i n d , was w r i t t e n i n 1962,  sixteen  years l a t e r than En l a ardiente oscuridad . Buero's i n s p i r a t i o n was an eighteenth century p i c t u r e of b l i n d musiciians i n r i d i c u l o u s costumes.  The.theme of t h i s play i s not s p i r i t u a l blindness or  e x i s t e n t i a l anguish, but the timeless s o c i a l problem of man's inhumani t y t o h i s f e l l o w man.  I t i s s u b t i t l e d "parabola en t r e s actos"  E l concierto de San Ovidio  i s set i n P a r i s i n 1771.  The  protagonist, David, i s presented as an i n t e l l i g e n t , s i n c e r e , k i n d , generous person who i s convinced t h a t , by means of hard work, the b l i n d can be capable of doing what other men can do. Thus, although he i s keenly aware of r e a l i t y , he has f a i t h that a b e t t e r future i s possible.  1+9.  I b i d . , p. l6k.  - kk  -  When, at the beginning of the p l a y , the p r i o r e s s at the h o s t e l f o r the b l i n d asks s i x o f the r e s i d e n t s i f they want t o go t o work f o r V a l i n d i n , who plans t o have a b l i n d beggars band at h i s restaurant at the f a i r of San O v i d i o , David's reason f o r accepting the proposal i s that i t should be a means of proving themselves.  He urges h i s companions:  "Hermanos, hay que poner en esto todo nuestro empefio. iHay que convencer a l o s que ven de que somos hombres como e l l o s , no animales enf ermos.'" 50 I f they a l l r e a l l y t r y , they can l e a r n t o p l a y w e l l together. "Hermanos, empenemonos todos en que nuestros v i o l i n e s canten juntos y l o lograremos! iTodo es querer! Y s i no l o q u e r e i s , resignaos como mujerzuelas a esta muerte en v i d a que nos aplasta."51 L a t e r , at V a l i n d i n ' s house he wants t o leave and not take the job when he f i n d s that they w i l l not be allowed t o t r y to take separate parts l i k e an ordinary o r c h e s t r a . But, he gives i n when he Dearns t h a t they have only eleven days i n which t o practise.  He almost leaves one other time, but returns because he  sees hope when the others w i l l not p r a c t i s e without him. We l e a r n about David's childhood from Donato, a youth whom David has t r e a t e d l i k e a son at the h o s t e l .  He was b l i n d e d by  fireworks as a young c h i l d but, by h i s own e f f o r t s learned t o be a good musician and t o be extremely s k i l f u l w i t h h i s walking s t i c k . He has also been very s u c c e s s f u l w i t h women.  50.  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , E l c o n c i e r t o de San O v i d i o , Barcelona, Ayma, S.A. E d i t o r a , I963, p. 36.  51.  I b i d . , p. 38 •  -  1+5 -  The day the f a i r opens the "blind musicians f i n d that they are going t o he dressed as clowns with dunce caps, donkey ears, and "big cardboard glasses. w i l l be backwards.  The music they are supposedly reading  They are t o be laughed at and r i d i c u l e d as o d d i t i e s  by the s t u p i d p u b l i c . David t e l l s the others that they are l e a v i n g , but V a l i n d i n reminds them that they have a contract and that i t i s b e t t e r t o do t h i s and eat than have pride and hunger.  He uses p h y s i c a l force t o  make Donato stay, and David gives i n again and stays as w e l l . The climax comes i n the complete darkness o f the barraca l a t e at night when David murders V a l i n d i n because he has caused t h e i r disgrace and misery and also that of Adriana, h i s m i s t r e s s , i n order t o f u l f i l l h i s own s e l f i s h d e s i r e s .  The immediate cause of the  murder i s a scene i n which V a l i n d i n beats Adriana and Donato f o r being u n f a i t h f u l t o him. V a l i n d i n i s r e a l l y not p i c t u r e d as a complete v i l l a i n . He'is a rather t y p i c a l businessman, out t o make a p r o f i t by any means, without any consideration of others' r i g h t s or f e e l i n g s . He has convinced himself that he i s helping people at the same time that he i s getting r i c h .  For example, he believes that the b l i n d are b e t t e r o f f  with him than they were while begging on the s t r e e t corners.  He also  b e l i e v e d that he r e a l l y loved Adriana even though he d i d not ever pay any a t t e n t i o n to her wishes and thought only of himself.  - k6  -  S i m i l a r l y , t h e average businessman today probably convinces himself that the p u b l i c i s much b e t t e r o f f w i t h h i s product than without i t or that he i s helping the economy of the country. David and Adriana love each other, but must face a t r a g i c separation at the end when he i s dragged away from her t o be hanged. He was betrayed by h i s "son", Donato, who t o l d the p o l i c e about him because he was jealous of Adriana's love f o r him.  David's l a s t 52  words t o Adriana are " D i l e a l pequeno que l e perdono"  which  t y p i f i e s the way i n which he was always thoughtful of others' . feelings. Things could have been d i f f e r e n t i f David had had the forcefulness to leave the group one of the times that he t r i e d t o . He compromised himself and drove himself to desperation by doing something that was against h i s p r i n c i p l e s .  Although V a l i n d i n would  have been able to replace him, perhaps i f he had a c t u a l l y l e f t the others would have understood and followed h i s example.  At  l e a s t Donato would probably have done so. The play ends on an o p t i m i s t i c note, however.  Valentin  Hatty,, a spectator who was disgusted by V a l i n d i n ' s show, resolved the day he saw i t , t h i r t y years before, that he would do something t o help the b l i n d .  'Through h i s e f f o r t s , one of David's most cherished  dreams has been r e a l i z e d and the b l i n d are now l e a r n i n g t o read and write ( b r a i l ) .  This proves, Hauy  52.  130  I b i d . , p.  concludes, t h a t :  -  "El hombre mas l o quiere" 53  UT  -  oscuro puede mover montanas s i  Donato i s seen as an o l d b l i n d beggar on the s t r e e t corner.  He i s p l a y i n g David's f a v o r i t e song and obviously l i v e s  tormented by remorse because of h i s b e t r a y a l of David. Although En l a ardiente oscuridad i s e x i s t e n t i a l i n theme and E l concierto de San Ovidio  i s a play of s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m , there  are c e r t a i n s i m i l a r i t i e s between them besides the f a c t that t h e i r characters are b l i n d . David  Both Carlos (En l a ardiente oscuridad)  are k i n d , w e l l meaning people who  again that there  end up murderers.  and  This shows  i s good and e v i l i n a l l of us and that we have to  guard against l o s i n g c o n t r o l of our baser passions.  We should not  l e t things go u n t i l we are desperate and t u r n to violence f o r immediate r e l i e f from the s i t u a t i o n . Both Ignacio and David are r e b e l l i n g against t h e i r condit i o n , but as B o r e l suggests, Ignacio i s s t r u g g l i n g f o r the impossible, whereas David wants an improvement that i s p o s s i b l e , although  very  d i f f i c u l t , w i t h i n the e x i s t i n g unalterable conditions ( i e . l e a r n i n g .  to read, w r i t e , and play music w e l l m  .  .  ,5k  s p i t e of blindness) .  Ignacio  i s a s p o i l e d c h i l d , scorning others' h e l p , and behaving completely s e l f i s h l y ; David i s a noble character, a self-made man, with a deep awareness of r e a l i t y and with consideration f o r others. 53.. I b i d . , 5^.  p.  131.  J.P. Borel., "Prologo: Buero V a l l e j o iVidente o ciego?", Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , E l concierto de San Ovidio, Barcelona, Ayma S.A. E d i t o r a , 1°63, V- 16.  - U8  -  I t i s sad that David has to d i e just when he would he able t o begin a new l i f e with Adriana and before seeing h i s dreams of reading and w r i t i n g f u l f i l l e d .  On the other hand, i t i s almost  a r e l i e f t o have that poor d e v i l , Ignacio, released from h i s misery. However, both Ignacio and David represent humanity, s t r u g g l i n g against the d i f f i c u l t i e s of t h e i r environment and t h e i r l i m i t a t i o n s , p h y s i c a l and mental. misunderstood by those around him. what they wanted.  Each i s alone i n h i s s t r u g g l e , Both die without having achieved  - U9  CHAPTER  -  V  Recent Plays Aventura en l o g r i s E l tragaluz  The l a s t two plays a v a i l a b l e f o r t h i s study are Aventura en l o g r i s , 19^3,  and E l t r a g a l u z , 196?.  They are s i m i l a r i n that  they both contain p o l i t i c a l c r i t i c i s m and tend to be abstract rather than being e s s e n t i a l l y r e a l i s t i c l i k e Buero's previous works.  Both  also combine thoughts and actions t o give an added dimension to reality.  Aventura en l o g r i s  have*, E l t r a g a l u z  includes a dream which the characters  i s "una experiencia de r e a l i d a d t o t a l : sucesos y  pensamientos en mezcla inseparable"^^  In E l t r a g a l u z  the scene c o n s i s t s  of several l o c a t i o n s which are seen at the same time and a character's thoughts may be seen simultaneously w i t h the main a c t i o n of the p l o t . Of a l l Buero's t h e a t r e , the play that i s perhaps most e x p l i c i t i n i t s c r i t i c i s m of e x i s t i n g s o c i e t y as a whole i s Aventura en l o g r i s .  I t was  f i r s t w r i t t e n i n 19^9,  theatre companies at that time.  but was not accepted by  any  However, Buero, h i m s e l f , states  that he b e l i e v e d i t too important a theme to be forgotten and thus he rewrote i t i n 1963  and i t was produced i n the same y e a r . ^ 5  Aventura en l o g r i s takes place i n a miserable grey inn i n S u r e l i a , a broken, war t o r n country.  The characters represent  the  various components of s o c i e t y - the d i c t a t o r , the r i c h , the s o l d i e r , 55.  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , " E l t r a g a l u z " , Teatro Espanol I967-68, ed., F.C. Sainz de Robles, Madrid, A g u i l a r , . I968, p. l 8 l .  56.  I s a b e l Magana S c h e v i l l , ed., Dos dramas de Buero V a l l e j o (Aventura en l o g r i s , Las palabras en l a arena), New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1967, p. 2.  - 50 -  the i n t e l l e c t u a l , the peasant, the youth, the career woman, the poor, and the future generation.  However, t h i s i s a study of the p r o t a -  gonists and w i l l have t o he l i m i t e d mainly t o an examination of Silvano (the i n t e l l e c t u a l ) , an e x - h i s t o r y professor who has l o s t his  p o s i t i o n as a r e s u l t o f c r i t i c i z i n g the government f o r s t a r t i n g  an unnecessary war. Silvano i s the most heroic of Buero's protagonists since he remains true t o h i s p r i n c i p l e s at a l l costs - even t o the point of s t a r v a t i o n and death.  For  most of Buero's protagonists the  pressure (of s o c i e t y and of t h e i r own weak human nature) i s too great and they f a i l t o achieve heroism. Silvano i s completely u n s e l f i s h , constantly helps and t h i n k s of others (although he i s weak w i t h s t a r v a t i o n ) , g i v i n g up everything f o r them, and f i n a l l y s a c r i f i c e s h i s l i f e i n an attempt t o save the future generations. His complete generosity and candor i s contrasted t o the greed and hypocrisy of the other characters, but p a r t i c u l a r l y t o that of Goldmann, the d i c t a t o r of the country.  The one who i s i n power and i s  entrusted w i t h the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of c a r i n g f o r the others i s the greatest e g o t i s t of them a l l .  The c o n f l i c t between Silvano and Goldmann  represents the c o n f l i c t between the i n t e l l e c t u a l i d e a l i s t and the amb i t i o u s , unscrupulous p o l i t i c i a n , who i s the one who has the power. The characters a l l spend the night at the abandonned i n n on t h e i r way t o make a desperate attempt t o leave the country.  There i s no  - 51 -  food and the t r a i n s are no longer running.  Typical of society i n  general, everyone t h i n k s only of h i m s e l f , instead o f u n i t i n g f o r the common good.  The one who does a l l the work f o r the others -  b r i n g i n g firewood, making sugar water f o r the baby - i s S i l v a n o , although he i s the weakest p h y s i c a l l y because of hunger. Goldmann, on the other hand, has food, but hides i t f o r himself and Ana, saying t o her that he i s the most important person for the country.  Unknown t o him, Ana gives a l i t t l e food t o I s a b e l ,  the poor g i r l , because she has t o feed her baby, and a l i t t l e t o S i l v a n o , because he i s so weak.  However, even though he i s dying of  s t a r v a t i o n , Silvano gives h i s piece t o Isabel as w e l l . Silvano t r i e s t o e x p l a i n t o C a r l o s , a young supporter of Goldmann, that the war was unnecessary and only s t a r t e d f o r economic reasons.  Carlos supports the war because i t i s easier t o be a  follower and f i g h t when t o l d t o , than t o t h i n k c r i t i c a l l y f o r himself. When they discuss dreams, they f i n d that Goldmann never dreams.  He s c o f f s :  "Los suenos deforman l a v i d a . Y l a v i d a hay que m i r a r l a cara a cara. Sonar es faena de mujeres o de contemplativos." 57 Silvano i s a dreamer.  He b e l i e v e s that i f people learned  how t o dream, they would l e a r n how t o l i v e .  Without  learning:  "Todos sofiamos con nuestros inconfesables a p e t i t o s y soltamos durante l a noche a l a f i e r a que nos posee."5o  57.  I b i d . , p. 6U .  58.  I b i d . , p. 65 •  - 52 -  He muses: "Sonamos mai porque nos portamos mai durante e l d i a o procedemos mai en l a v i d a porque no sabemos sonar b i e n . "59 He wonders i f people could begin to have ftte same dream. The t r u t h would become apparent and they could no longer pretend when they were awake. L a t e r , when accusing Goldmann of the murder of I s a b e l , he concludes that i t i s the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the i n t e l l e c t u a l t o act as w e l l as dream; "No se puede sonar, no se debe soflar dejando l a s manos l i b r e s a quienes no l o hacen. Aunque, a l f i n a l , sea e l sofiador quien desenmascare a l hombre de accion."6o Silvano admits that he i s "un hombre de dudas, no de s e g u r i dades"^"'" when he wonders whether he d i d the r i g h t t h i n g i n denouncing the  government : "iHice mai? iHice bien? Eso l o aclararan acaso l o s h i s t o r i a d o r e s : mis companeros d e l futuro. Ahora nadie podria d e c i r l o : n i Goldmann que me echo a l a s f i e r a s , pero que t a l vez mafiana sea juzgado mas duramente que yo. "62 He sees the war i n the perspective of h i s t o r y .  In the pre-  vious century, they had attacked the country that i s now attacking them. Silvano i s not a f r a i d of death. and shoot him f o r being a d e f e a t i s t .  He t e l l s Carlos t o go ahead  L a t e r , he t e l l s Goldmann that  he has recognized him from the beginning and he i s not a f r a i d that he  59-'  Loc. c i t .  60.  Ibid.,  p.  61.  Ibid.,  p. kg.  62.  Ibid.,  p.  121.  50.  -  w i l l k i l l him.  53  -  He f e e l s that now they are on equal terms, no longer  a d i c t a t o r and a professor.  Which of them i n r e a l i t y has come c l o s e r  to f u l f i l l i n g the oath of abnegation of Goldmann's p a r t y , which S i l vano has not even sworn to?  He wants to stop doubting and prove to  himself that he i s worth more than Goldmann.  When Ana advises  him  to leave i f Goldmann knows that he knows t h e i r i d e n t i t y , he t e l l s  her:  "Hay una p a r t i d a emprendida entre e l y yo desde hace meses y quiero g a n a r l a . " ^ 3 The second part of the play i s a dream i n which the true f e e l i n g s and thoughts of the characters are revealed.  A l l the  characters, except Goldmann, since he never dreams, appear i n the dream and i t i s implied that a l l the characters are having the same dream. Silvano appears on a mound, s i t t i n g above the others, which shows that he i s above them morally i n h i s ' s e l f l e s s n e s s , and he w i l l not come down to t h e i r l e v e l .  He and Ana are t r y i n g to reach  each other (she i s the only other person who has shared her food  and  thought of o t h e r s ) , but they cannot quite reach (she has not a t t a i n e d his l e v e l of s e l f - d e n i a l ) .  No matter what the others do, Silvano  does not come down (he does not compromise h i m s e l f ) . enemy s o l d i e r s who  Silvano asks  appear i n the windows to y e l l at the others that they  w i l l l o s e because they q u a r r e l over bread (they are greedy and d i s u n i t e d ) . F i n a l l y he reaches Ana, and with the death of Isabel he comes down. I s a b e l i s a v i c t i m of war and of man's appetites.  63.  I b i d . , p. 7 9  Silvano asks himself,  -  5^  "iSoy yo quien t e ha matado? sibility  -  A l l men  should make i t t h e i r respon-  to c o n t r o l animal passions and to end murder and  war.  In the l a s t a c t , a f t e r Isabel i s found dead, everyone i s sorry about i t , b u t wants to forget i t , saying that i t i s useless to do anything about i t now and they must save themselves.  Goldmann i s  most i n s i s t e n t that i t should be forgotten so that i t w i l l not t h e i r d i f f i c u l t y at the border c r o s s i n g .  increase  Silvano says that they are  a l l responsible because of t h e i r egoism and s t u p i d i t y .  A f t e r Ana  remarks that Carlos might have done i t , Silvano suggests an a n a l y s i s of the p o s s i b l e motives of a l l of them and f i n a l l y accuses Goldmann: "Un hombre s i n escrupulos, acostumbrado a coger a su paso e l dinero, e l l u j o y l a s mujeres - un hombre de accion g que nunca suefla y que obra durante e l sueno de l o s demas." He convinces the others that Goldmann i s the murderer. wants t o stop Carlos from k i l l i n g  He  Goldmann, but he does not blame him  when he does and suggests that he f i n d a new l i f e f i g h t i n g f o r the country w i t h the g u e r r i l l a s . Knowing^that he, himself, i s too weak t o carry the baby, he asks each of the others to take the baby w i t h them: "es un ser inocente de nuestras f u r i a s  Salvemos  e l manana."6>6 They a l l refuse. Silvano decides to s a c r i f i c e h i s l i f e by staying and t o persuade the enemies to save the baby's l i f e . 6k.  Ibid.,  p.  98.  65.  Ibid.  p.  119.  66.  Ibid.,  p.  126.  trying  Ana decides to stay  - 55 -  w i t h him.  He begs her t o go, but she cannot l e a v e him.  not know t h a t such men  e x i s t e d and now  that  She d i d  she has found him  she  w i l l not l e a v e him. When Ana makes one l a s t t h e i r l i v e s by s a y i n g t h a t i t was t h a t S i l v a n o w i l l not l i e .  s u g g e s t i o n - t h a t t h e y t r y t o save t h e y who  He t e l l s  k i l l e d Goldmann - we  see  her:  "Mi pobre Ana, has empezado muy t a r d e a aprender. Aun no sabes l o que es v e n e e r , n i l o que es v e n c e r s e . . . . " ^ 7 Moments l a t e r t h e y f a c e t h e enemy s o l d i e r s u n a f r a i d , succeed i n p e r s u a d i n g them t o save t h e baby's l i f e . death u n a f r a i d , because something  and  They t h e n f a c e  t h e y have overcome s e l f i s h n e s s and a c h i e v e d  f o r humanity, i n s a c r i f i c i n g themselves t o save t h e baby  (the symbol o f f u t u r e peace and u n i t y , s i n c e he i s a product o f b o t h s i d e s i n t h e war). "Ana:  Hands c l a s p e d , t h e y await  ....lEs a s i ?  Silvano: S i l v a n o won  death:  £Es e s t o veneer?  i S i ! i E s t o es  veneer.'"^  i n t h e c o n f l i c t between h i m s e l f and Goldmann and  a l s o overcame a l l s e l f i s h n e s s w i t h i n h i m s e l f .  He became a man  r e f u s i n g t o compromise h i m s e l f and p u t t i n g h i s i d e a l s i n t o He began as a man h i s dreams i n t o Ana  o f doubt  and a dreamer, but conquered  of a c t i o n ,  practice.  doubt and put  action.  s t r e n g t h e n s S i l v a n o ' s v i c t o r y over Goldmann, because  67-  Ibid. ,  p.  13h.  68.  Ibid.,  p.  13h.  - 56 -  she i s won over t o h i s way of t h i n k i n g .  She changes from being  Goldmann's mistress t o l o v i n g Silvano on a purely s p i r i t u a l l e v e l . In order t o give meaning t o one's l i f e , one should face the task o f doing a l l that i s p o s s i b l e t o make the world a b e t t e r place f o r others and f o r t h e future generations, even i f t h i s e n t a i l s the s a c r i f i c e of one's own s e l f i s h pleasures.  Otherwise, there i s  no purpose t o l i f e - we are merely e x i s t i n g and propagating the species on an animal l e v e l . Although t h i s may seem an impossible t a s k , Buero shows us again that t h e place t o begin t o improve the world i s t o improve humanity.  Each i n d i v i d u a l can improve humanity by improving himself.  No matter what h i s e x t e r n a l circumstances may be, the i n d i v i d u a l i s free t o do what he wants w i t h i n h i m s e l f , i f he can conquer t h e s e l f i s h n e s s of h i s own nature. E l t r a g a l u z , w r i t t e n i n 1967, i s t h e l a s t play t o be w r i t t e n by Buero at the time of t h i s study.  I t s themes include a l l  those found i n the e a r l i e r works - s o c i a l , moral, and e x i s t e n t i a l . In t h i s play the present i s seen as the past since the events of the p l o t are viewed by two beings from a future century, who see t h e i r t r u e s i g n i f i c a n c e and comment on them, from time t o time.  These beings appear  to have achieved a b e t t e r world and t o c o n t r o l t h e i r own h i s t o r y . The protagonists are two b r o t h e r s , Mario and Vicente.  Vicente  i s a t y p i c a l modern businessman, whose prime purpose i s t o make a profit.  As a boy, he climbed onto a t r a i n and deserted the f a m i l y i n  - 57 -  t h e i r time of worst need, immediately a f t e r the c i v i l war.  He took  t h e i r only p r o v i s i o n s w i t h him and thus caused the death of h i s baby s i s t e r .  He has continued to l i v e t h i s way ever s i n c e , t a k i n g  advantage of others to gain what he can f o r himself. During the play Mario i s seen as a complete contrast to Vicente.  He i s determined not to hurt anyone and has thus chosen to  l i v e i n proverty w i t h t h e i r parents.  He t r i e s to l i v e by h i s p r i n -  c i p l e s and i s almost completely u n s e l f i s h . The two brothers confront each other several times during the play and each t r i e s to convince the other t o change h i s way of life.  They are thus contrasted very d i s t i n c t l y .  Vicente's b e l i e f s  must be shared by the m a j o r i t y of the people i n Western s o c i e t y , since our way of l i f e i s based on h i s economic p r i n c i p l e s .  However,  Mario, without being s e l f - r i g h t e o u s or unsympathetic, soon demonstrates the error of h i s brother's ways. Vicente always puts business before sentiment.  After his  new deal has come through, he i s happy; he does not care that i t has meant r u i n i n g the career of B e l t r a n , a w r i t e r whose works h i s company, was p u b l i s h i n g .  He o f f e r s Mario a job at which he would earn three  times what he then earns, but because he does not agree w i t h h i s brother's p r a c t i s e s , Mario refuses i t . On another occasion, Vicente t r i e s to convince Mario to change h i s mind.  Mario explains h i s reasoning:  - 58  -  "Me repugna rmestro mundo. CTodos piensan quel en e l no cabe sino comerte a l o s demas o ser comido. Y encima, todos t e dicen: "IDevora antes que t e devoren! Te daremos b e l l a s t e o r i a s para t u t r a n q u i l i d a d . La lucha por l a v i d a E l mal i n e v i t a b l e para l l e g a r a l bien necesario.... La caridad b i e n entendida " Pero yo en mi r i n c o n , intento comprobar s i puedo salvarme de ser devorado...., aunque no devore. "Me l i m i t o a defenderme. Y hasta me dejo p i s o t e a r un poco, por no d i s c u t i r . . . . Pero, por ejemplo, no me enriquezco"70 Vicente asks Mario i f he i s accusing him and argues that he has t o mix with other men to understand: "Mario, toda accion es impura. Pero no todas son e g o i s t a s , como crees. INo haras nada u t i l s i no acttias I Y no conoceras a l o s hombres s i n t r a t a r l o s , n i a t l mismo s i no t e mezclas con ellos'.' 7 1 The two brothers demonstrate the f a m i l i a r contrast between the- dreamer and the man of a c t i o n .  A f t e r Mario shows Vicente how  he opens the s k y l i g h t to see the e s s e n t i a l r e a l i t y of humanity i n the legs of the passersby, Vicente says s c o r n f u l l y , TEstas sonando!  IDespierta!"  Mario r e p l i e s :  "iQuien debe despertar? IVeo a mi alrededor muchos a c t i v o s , pero estan dormidos.' iLlegan a creerse tanto mas i r r e prochables cuanto mas se encanallan!"72 At the time of a l a t e r v i s i t of Vicente, the same question arises.  Vicente asks Mario to come to work f o r him and l i v e w i t h him,  before he goes crazy l i v i n g w i t h t h e i r f a t h e r .  He t e l l s Mario that he  can continue t o t h i n k h i s own way, but use the money from the company. Mario answers that he cannot become a part of the hypocrisy and deceit of the business world.  69.  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , E l Tragaluz, p. 1 9 6 .  71.  I b i d . , p. 1 9 7 .  70.  Loc. c i t .  72.  loc. cit.  -59 " i C l a r o que entiendo e l juego! Se es un poco revol u c i o n a r i o , luego algo conservador.... No hay inconvenientes, pues para eso se siguen ostentando ideas avanzadas.... E l nuevo grupo nos u t i l i z a . . . . Nos dejamos u t i l i z a r , puesto que l o s u t i l i z a m o s . . . . IY a medrar todos! Porque iquien sabe ya hoy a l o que esta jugando cada cual? Solo l o s pobres saben que son pobres. As an example of d i r t y business p r a c t i s e s , Mario accuses Vicente of r u i n i n g Beltran's career because h i s new associates wanted i t so and are paying him f o r i t .  B e l t r a n i s an exemplary person, who  sees r e a l i t y and i s i n d i f f e r e n t t o m a t e r i a l comforts and money.  Vicente  l i e s t o t r y t o hide the t r u t h , as i s customary i n business, saying that he a c c i d e n t a l l y l o s t the l e t t e r t h a t Encarna found i n the wastebasket . Even Mario r e a l i z e s that i t would be impossible t o l i v e i f one were completely u n s e l f i s h .  He t e l l s Encarna, "Esa es nuestra mi-  lk  s e r i a : que hay que v i v i r ' ,  but he chooses t o l i v e i n poverty and  pursue t r u t h and honesty. The d i f f e r e n c e between the two brothers i s a l s o exemplified by t h e i r a t t i t u d e toward and treatment o f Encarna, who represents the problem of a country g i r l i n the c i t y . She i s Vicente's secretary and sleeps w i t h him because she i s a f r a i d t o l o s e her job.  The future beings describe t h e i r a f f a i r as 75  "practicando rutinariamente e l amor f i s i c o . 73.  I b i d . , p. 2 1 3 -  Jk.  I b i d . , p. 1 8 3 .  75-  I b i d . , p. 2 0 6 .  - 60 -  Mario, on the other hand, meets Encarna t o t a l k t o her and r e a l l y know her.  Later he asks her t o marry him and takes her  home t o meet h i s parents. Encarna w i l l not go home with Vicente on Thursdays - t h e day she meets a g i r l f r i e n d from her hometown (Mario), but she i s a f r a i d t o break o f f her a f f a i r with him or t o confront him with the B e l t r a n business as she had promised Mario.  L a t e r , however, she has  the courage t o t e l l Mario the t r u t h about h e r s e l f and V i c e n t e , because she r e a l l y loves and respects him and cannot deceive him. However, both Mario and Vicente are s e l f i s h i n t h e i r tude toward her.  atti-  When she does t e l l the t r u t h about h e r s e l f and  V i c e n t e , the l a t t e r f i r e s her and Mario does not want t o see her any more. his  Neither i s t h i n k i n g of her f e e l i n g s , only of  p r i d e , and the fact that  h i s plans are ruined.  himself Mario r e a l i z e s  t h i s l a t e r and asks Encarna:  "IY  que hemos hecho l o s dos contigo?...  £No t e hemos usado l o s dos para herirnos con mas v i o l e n c i a Mario f i n a l l y decides that he does want t o marry Encarna, not out of p i t y , but because they can f i n d mutual support together i n a simple way o f l i f e , t r y i n g not t o hurt anyone, and they can r a i s e Vicente's c h i l d as t h e i r own. The a t t i t u d e of the two brothers toward t h e i r father also reveals e s s e n t i a l d i f f e r e n c e s between them. t r i e s not t o see i t .  76.  Ibid.,  p. 235.  Mario sees the t r u t h ; V i c e n t  -  61 -  Their f a t h e r , ( s i m i l a r l y t o Irene of Irene o e l tesoro)  has  gone mad rather than face the r e a l i t y of the world and what Vicente has done.  Mario views h i s madness as meaningful, with a d e f i n i t e  cause and purpose to h i s a c t i o n s ; Vicente keeps i n s i s t i n g that he i s senile.  For example, a f t e r t h e i r father has wrecked the t e l e v i s i o n  set when a commercial i n t e r r u p t e d a program, Mario believes that he was  showing h i s disgust with a d v e r t i s i n g which makes people t h i n k  that unnecessary m a t e r i a l comforts are important. that tiieir father d i d not know what he was  Vicente maintains  doing.  In another scene t h e i r father t r i e s to cut h i s f i n g e r o f f . Vicente wants to grab him and stop him by f o r c e ; Mario i s patient and watchful, r e a l i z i n g that i t i s b e t t e r not to use force i f p o s s i b l e . Their father denies that he ever knew or had a son named Vicente; he has repressed t h i s memory completely.  He remembers having  a son Mario, but says that he has not seen him f o r a long time. Their mother s t i l l t r e a t s Vicente l i k e a s p o i l e d c h i l d . For example, she runs out to buy h i s f a v o u r i t e goodies when he arrives.  I t i s Mario whom she advises to marry Encarna, when she  learns that Encarna has been Vicente's mistress.  However, there is a  scene i n which her t r u e respect f o r Mario i s shown.  Encarna i s outside  t h e i r house and Vicente says to l e t her i n , but Mario does not want her to come i n .  The mother obeys Mario's wishes.  Vicente ( l i k e V a l i n d i n of E l concierto de San Ovidio) seems to have convinced himself, i n order to ease h i s conscience a l i t t l e > that he i s helping people.  He brings an envelope of money to the  - 62 -  f a m i l y each month, which they use t o make payments on a washing machine.  In s p i t e of the way i n which he has t r e a t e d Encarna, he  b e l i e v e s that he i s helping her: "no t i e n e o t r a perspectiva que l a m i s e r i a . . . . , salvo a mi lado. Y a mi lado seguira, s i quiere, porque...., a pesar de todo, l a aprecio. E l l a l o sabe.... y megusta ayudar a l a gente, s i puedo hacerlo. (Eso tambien l o sabes t u . ) " When he f i n d s that she i s pregnant, he thinks only of arranging things t o s u i t h i s convenience. nocere  "Estudiaremos l a me jor s o l u c i o n , Encarna. Te ayudare. " f 8  Lo reco-  The t r u e , inner f e e l i n g s of the two brothers are revealed i n t h e i r reactions t o the " t r a g a l u z " .  In the legs and conversations of  the passersby, Mario sees t r u t h and beauty and has f a i t h i n the basic underlying goodness which i s common t o a l l humanity.  Vicente  i s s c o r n f u l of the whole idea at f i r s t , but when he sees h i s r e a l i t y , he i s f i l l e d with fear because he has no conception of Mario's view of l i f e and can see only i n terms of h i s own experience. In s p i t e of h i s apparent callousness and complete egoism, Vicente i s t o r t u r e d by h i s g u i l t y conscience and by the way i n which he knows Mario has judged him. more frequently.  He begins t o v i s i t h i s f a m i l y more and  F i n a l l y he says that he i s going t o c l e a r things up  and convince Mario that he i s wrong.  As i s h i s usual way, he t r i e s  t o make excuses f o r himself and to r a t i o n a l i z e h i s way out of g u i l t , by means o f h a l f t r u t h s . 77-  I b i d . , p. 216. . .  78.  I b i d . , p. 227 •  - 63 -  Mario t e l l s the true story of what happened years before. He does not blame Vicente completely f o r deserting them, because he was only a boy, but he does blame him f o r continuing t o l i v e that way now.  He i s s t i l l an u n p r i n c i p l e d opportunist; he has never gotten o f f  the t r a i n .  I t i s no use saying that there are other bigger worse  people, as we sometimes do t o make our own misdemeanors appear i n s i g nificant : "iPero ahora, hombre, ya s i eres culpable' Has hecho pocas v i c t i m a s , desde luego; hay innumerables c a n a l l a s que l a s han hecho por m i l e s , por m i l l o n e s . iPero t u eres como e l l o s ! Dale tiempo a l tiempo y veras crecer e l numero de l a s tuyas.... Y tubotin." T 9  Vicente wants t o be judged, punished, and pardoned.  He asks  to be alone with t h e i r father and confesses t o him, although he i s sure that h i s f a t h e r does not understand.  Vicente reveals h i s com-  p l e t e l a c k of f a i t h i n anything, h i s d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t with l i f e , and the f a c t that he sees no point i n s t r u g g l i n g t o improve conditions or even himself.  He admits that he d i d not care when he found that he  had caused h i s s i s t e r ' s death.  Many c h i l d r e n had died i n the war.  What d i d one more matter? He reveals h i s desire f o r f a i t h i n something, but he i s too weak t o combat h i s d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t and egoism. "Quisiera que me entendiese, aunque se que no me ent i e n d e . Le hablo como quien habla a Dios s i n creer en Dios, porque q u i s i e r a que E l estuviera a h i . Pero no e s t a , y nadie es castigado, y l a v i d a sigue. Mireme: estoy l l o r a n d o . Dentro de un momento. me i r e , con l a pequena i l u s i o n que me ha escuchado, a seguir haciendo victimas De cuando en cuando pensare que r  79.  Ibid.,  p. 231.  - 6k  -  hice cuanto pude confesandome a usted y que ya no habia remedio, puesto que usted no entiende.... E l otro l o c o , ini hermano, me d i r i a : "Hay remedioY Pero iquien puede terminar con l a s c a n a l l a das en un mundo canalla.?-  t  Le aseguro que estoy cansado de ser hombre. Esta v i d a de temores y de mala fe f a t i g a mortalmente. Pero no se puede volVer a l a nifiez." ft  He wants t o be punished; he wants to see order i n the world. One could almost say that he wants t o die and h i s father k i l l s  him  for what he represents. Mario, who has always t r i e d t o l i v e according t o h i s p r i n c i p l e s , believes himself responsible f o r h i s brother's death. i n the play le had had a dream i n which he a t t r a c t e d a man  Early  so close  to a c l i f f edge that the man had f a l l e n over.  He now sees that t h i s  foreshadowed what he has done to h i s brother.  He r e a l i z e s that there  i s no c l e a r answer to l i f e ; there i s a two-sided nature t o everything (good and  evil); "Yo no soy bueno; mi hermano no era malo."  " E l queria engaflarle. . . . y ver c l a r o ; yo queria s a l v a r l e . . . y matarle. iQue queriamos en r e a l i d a d ? iQue queria yo? iComo soy? iQuien soy? iQuien ha sido v i c t i m a de quien? Ya nunca l o sabre Nunca. " " I Like S i l v e r i o of Hoy es f i e s t a , Mario questions what h i s true motivation was and w i l l be t o r t u r e d by g u i l t f o r the r e s t of h i s l i f e .  80.  I b i d . , p. 232 .  81.  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , E l t r a g a l u z , p.  235.  - 65 -  However, neither Mario nor Vicente i s completely wrong or r i g h t i n h i s way of l i f e .  The negative aspects of Mario are  that h i s l i f e i s too i n a c t i v e and that he hates h i s brother so deeply. Buero suggests t h a t : " E l t i p o i d e a l para una conducta e q u i l i b r a d a hubiera sido un hombre intermedio entre l o s dos hermanos, unasimbiosis de ambos, un setenta por ciento d e l menor y un t r e i n t a d e l mayor. De este u l t i m o , en resumen, no me gusta su forma de tomar y v i a j a r en e l t r e n , en ese t r e n que hay que tomar. Del hermano menor no me gusta su resentimiento f r a t e r n a l . ^ The play ends i n an appeal t o the audience t o r e a l i z e the t r u t h and have the f a i t h t o do something t o improve themselves and t h e i r way of l i f e , no matter how d i f f i c u l t i t might seem.  Mario  and Encarna h o l d hands, face the audience, and Mario says: "Quiza e l l o s algun d i a , Encarna dia  Ellos  "  E l l o s s i , algun  8 3  Then everything i s darkness except the " t r a g a l u z " . With E l t r a g a l u z , Buero again demonstrates man's inhumanity to h i s f e l l o w man. family was.  Humanity i s a f a m i l y , j u s t as Vicente and Mario's  We are united i n a common struggle and yet we do not help  each other, but torment each other i n s t e a d , each t h i n k i n g only of himself. Again Buero shows  that  greed and egoism  are the prime cause  of the e v i l and i n j u s t i c e i n the world. The play can also be considered an attack on c a p i t a l i s m which f o s t e r s cut-throat competition, over values m a t e r i a l g a i n , and r e s u l t s i n an extremely uneven d i s t r i b u t i o n of the world's goods. 82.  Angel Fernandez-Santos, "Una e n t r e v i s t a con Buero V a l l e j o " , E l primer acto, Wo. 90, November 1967, p. 12.  83.  Ibid.,  p. 236.  - 66 -  This theme i s not new t o Buero's work.  The f i r s t play  of Buero's t o he performed, H i s t o r i a de una e s c a l e r a , was an attack on the poverty that e x i s t s i n our world and t h i s theme appeared i n many.of h i s l a t e r works.  E l concierto de San O v i d i o , 1 9 6 2 , revealed  the tyranny and inhumanity of the modern businessman, hut was c a mouflaged somewhat by i t s eighteenth century s e t t i n g . E l concierto de San Ovidio  After writing  and before w r i t i n g E l t r a g a l u z , I 9 6 T ,  Buero t r a n s l a t e d Mother Courage and her Sons by B e r t o l t Brecht, a German M a r x i s t . However, i n s p i t e of h i s i n t e r e s t i n Brecht, and h i s d i s content w i t h Western s o c i e t y , Buero gives too much importance t o the i n d i v i d u a l and freedom t o be considered t o have Communist leanings.  For example, i n E l t r a g a l u z  t h e f a t h e r searches a f t e r the  i d e n t i t y of each i n d i v i d u a l i n p i c t u r e s and postcards; and t h e future beings are i n t e n t upon viewing the people of past centuries ("arbol por a r b o l " ) , person by person. Everyone i s important; everyone i s d i f f e r e n t . l i f e must be valued above a l l e l s e .  Each human  Each human should be able t o  l i v e w i t h d i g n i t y and freedom. E l t r a g a l u z again shows us that we must struggle t o overcome our own s e l f i s h n e s s , t o love each other, and t o have the welfare of others at heart.  Greed and egoism are probably inherent c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  of a l l mankind, a legacy from p r i m i t i v e man's a n i m a l - l i k e existence, against which we a l l must f i g h t w i t h i n ourselves, no matter what our outer p o l i t i c a l or personal b e l i e f s may be.  - 67  -  CHAPTER VI Conclusion  Buero's protagonists represent the tragedy of contemporary man, who f i n d s himself i n a world of such a vast amount of incomprehensible confusion and immorality that he i s devastated by the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of combatting i t and by h i s own  insignificance.  Buero's best characters are the t r a g i c ones of h i s l a t e r plays:  S i l v e r i o , Juan, Esquilache, Velazquez, David, S i l v a n o , and  Mario.  Although the s e t t i n g i s d i f f e r e n t , the s i t u a t i o n i n which  they are found i s e s s e n t i a l l y the same.  They are a l l men of great  moral c o n v i c t i o n who f i n d themselves i n an unbearably immoral environment.  They are i n c o n f l i c t w i t h i n themselves and with othersi be-  cause of the pressure of s o c i e t y upon them to make them conform and forget t h e i r p r i n c i p l e s .  I t i s impossible f o r them t o f i n d peace  and happiness because they cannot accept the immorality and i n j u s t i c e that surrounds them and i t i s almost equally impossible f o r them t o uphold t h e i r own moral c o n v i c t i o n s . Often the characters who work a c t i v e l y to improve conditions are k i l l e d or outcasted by s o c i e t y .  For example, Pedro i n Las Meninas  i s hunted and k i l l e d because he has r e b e l l e d against i n j u s t i c e .  After  Pedro's death, Velazquez asks the k i n g : '.'Es que e l poder solo sabe a c a l l a r con sangre l o que e l mismo incuoa? Pues, s i a s i l o hace con sangre cubre sus propios errores."8^ Qk.  Antonio Buero V a l l e j o , Las Meninas, ed. Juan Rodriguez C a s t e l l a n o , New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1°63. p. l6h.  - 68  -  The protagonists' own human nature also makes i t d i f f i c u l t f o r them to be the moral persons that they wish to be.  They are shown  to be two-sided beings, capable of thought f o r and kindness to others and also capable of violence and murder. As w e l l as having weaknesses i n character, Buero's creations also remind us that we are also p h y s i c a l l y weak and vulnerable. are b l i n d , one i s mute, another i s deaf. symbolic of mental conditions.  Some  These f r a i l t i e s are also  The b l i n d are also s p i r i t u a l l y b l i n d ,  P i l a r does not want to hear S i l v e r i o ' s confession, and A n i t a w i l l never f o r g i v e Adela. Their p h y s i c a l handicaps also i l l u s t r a t e the r e l a t i v i t y of knowledge and the d i f f e r e n t view of r e a l i t y that each i n d i v i c u a l has according to h i s own l i m i t a t i o n s .  On the s o c i a l l e v e l , they  represent the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of complete communication between  men.  Buero's protagonists are t r a g i c characters because they end i n sadness and f a i l u r e .  They are generally unable to l i v e up to  the standard that they have set f o r themselves and are g u i l t - r i d d e n because they have compromised themselves. Velazquez might be taken as an example of the synthesis of Buero's protagonist.  He s u f f e r s because he i s aware of the great i n -  j u s t i c e i n Spanish s o c i e t y , but i s unable to do anything to combat i t . He i s t o r t u r e d by g u i l t because of h i s s i l e n c e about the wrongs that he sees.  He a l s o f e e l s g u i l t y because he, h i m s e l f , i s able to f i n d  pleasure i n p a i n t i n g .  - 69 -  He i s heroic because he i s not a f r a i d t o confront the k i n g and h i s accusors w i t h the t r u t h i n order t o defend himself and save his  p a i n t i n g and he refuses t o l i e and say that he loves the k i n g ,  even t o save himself and h i s p a i n t i n g . He l i v e s a completely v i r t o u s and moral p r i v a t e l i f e , which increases the others' resentment o f h i s success. The p u r i t y o f Velazquez i s contrasted to the immorality and hypocrisy of court l i f e and t o the deceit and p e t t i n e s s o f h i s brotherin-law, N i e t o , who brings him before the I n q u i s i t i o n i n order t o f u r t h e r h i s own p o s i t i o n as an informer. Buero's protagonists are almost always contrasted t o a character who lacks moral p r i n c i p l e s and i s extremely  egoistic.  For example: Anfino i s contrasted t o Ulysses, Irene t o Mmas, E s q u i l a che t o Ensenada, David t o V a l i n d i n , Silvano t o Goldmann, and Mario t o Vicente. The protagonist has dreams and i l l u s i o n s , has sympathy and kindness f o r others, and searches f o r t r u t h , w i t h i n himself and around him.  He s u f f e r s because of h i s conscience and because o f h i s doubt.~ The character t o whom he i s contrasted, on the other hand,  has no dreams or i l l u s i o n s , but i s a c t i v e and powerful and c o n t r o l s others.  He i s an unthinking person who deludes himself that h i s  actions are helping others when i n fact he i s a c t i n g only t o b e n e f i t himself.  - TO  -  However, there i s no completely c l e a r d i v i s i o n between the heroes and v i l l a i n s . evil.  Both are shown to be human, mixtures of good and  The l a t e r ones such as V a l i n d i n and Vicente who depict the  e t h i c of the modern businessman represent a way of l i f e that i s shared by the m a j o r i t y of Western s o c i e t y today, i n which m a t e r i a l gain i s given utmost importance.  Dimas of Irene o e l tesoro represented the  same i d e a , but was one-sided and therefore l e s s r e a l i s t i c than V a l i n d i n and Vicente. No character i s portrayed as being wholly r i g h t , since p e r f e c t i o n i s impossible i n the world as we know i t .  However, the  l i f e of protagonist i s shown t o be f a r p r e f e r a b l e t o that of h i s l e s s moral counterpart. Velazquez i s t y p i c a l of Buero's protagonists a l s o because of h i s loneliness and the great l a c k of communication and  understanding,  that he endures. Love i s also g e n e r a l l y l a c k i n g i n the l i v e s of Buero's prot a g o n i s t s , p a r t i c u l a r l y w i t h i n marriage and the f a m i l y . Marriage i s u s u a l l y p i c t u r e d as having been entered i n t o f o r reasons other than love.  Velazquez's f a m i l y i s a hindrance and a burden rather than a  support f o r him.  His wife has no understanding of him, whatsoever.  Although one might expect the death of the protagonist i n a tragedy, few of Buero's heroes d i e . l i v e s tormented by t h e i r conscience.  They are l e f t t o continue t h e i r This can be considered a worse  fate than death, since death i s a release from w o r l d l y cares.  - 71 -  Several o f Buero's protagonists k i l l someone, but Velazquez does not commit murder, nor i s he d i r e c t l y responsible f o r anyone's death.  He does, however, consider himself p a r t i a l l y t o blame  f o r the death o f Pedro, who i s the only person who understood him and without whom he f e e l s completely  alone.  In Buero's theatre the existence o f a male counterpart t o the protagonist who i s i n complete harmony w i t h him occurs only i n Las Meninas.  I n many o f h i s other plays there i s a woman who i s  between two men of c o n f l i c t i n g i d e o l o g i e s .  She r e i n f o r c e s the " v i c -  t o r y " o f the protagonist because she i n v a r i a b l y chooses the one o f greater m o r a l i t y and l e s s egoism.  For example, Ana r e j e c t s Goldmann  f o r S i l v a n o , Adriana - loves David rather than V a l i n d i n , and Encarna chooses Mario over Vicente. Frequently the c o n f l i c t between the protagonist and the character who i s opposed t o him i s heightened  and f i l l e d with  suspence because o f secrecy about an object and danger t o a t h i r d person.  In Las Meninas  the object i s the nude p a i n t i n g and the  person i s Pedro. Although the plays i n t h i s study were w r i t t e n during a period o f over twenty years, t h e i r themes possess remarkable u n i t y . There are three main areas of theme:  e x i s t e n t i a l , moral, and s o c i a l .  There are, o f course, elements o f a l l of these throughout the plays and subjects such as poverty, war, i n j u s t i c e , l a c k of love and communication, s p i r i t u a l b l i n d n e s s , the need f o r freedom, t r u t h and honesty, and the destructiveness of egoism reappear c o n t i n u a l l y .  - 72  -  In s p i t e of t h i s u n i t y , however, a c e r t a i n degree of c h r o n o l o g i c a l evolution can he seen i n Buero's theatre.  As seen i n  the previous chapters, the f i r s t works are e s s e n t i a l l y e x i s t e n t i a l i n theme although there are traces of s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m i n them. The second group are i n a more imaginative v e i n , hut s t i l l include many of the same ideas as the others.  Irene o e l tesoro i s a  t r a n s i t i o n between the previous l e s s r e a l i s t i c plays and those of r e a l i s t i c s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m which were to f o l l o w .  Of course, Buero had already  employed the technique of r e a l i s t i c s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m i n H i s t o r i a de una e s c a l e r a i n 19^9•  The rather more p e s s i m i s t i c r e a l i s t i c  social  works, (Hoy es f i e s t a and Las cartas boca aba.jo) were followed by three plays which were set i n the h i s t o r i c a l past, but which were analogous to present s o c i a l abuses,  (Un sonador para un pueblo, Las Meninas, E l  concierto de San Ovidio).  Aventura en l o g r i s i s a more abstract  work which symbolizes contemporary society and has p o l i t i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s . E l tragaluz can be viewed as Buero's culminating work since i t i n c o r porates almost a l l the preceding ideas and techniques. i s viewed as the past.  The present  The characters symbolize c o n f l i c t i n g ideologies  and moral p o s i t i o n s , but the environment i s e s s e n t i a l l y r e a l i s t i c . The evolution from e x i s t e n c i a l to s o c i a l to p o l i t i c a l i s a l o g i c a l one. There i s no answer to the o n t o l o g i c a l question, which remains constant throughout Buero's works, except to give value to humanity and recognize each i n d i v i d u a l as unique and important. The most obvious a c t i o n  - 73  man  can  take " to  help  and  'to  -  Improve ,; humanity i s to d i r e c t h i s  e f f o r t s to combatting s o c i a l e v i l s which deprive man  of h i s d i g n i t y .  The most d i r e c t way to improve conditions i s through p o l i t i c a l channels. The staging of the plays r e f l e c t s a pattern of e v o l u t i o n , which i s s i m i l a r to that of the technique and themes. take place i n one simple s e t t i n g .  The e a r l y plays  In the h i s t o r i c a l plays the staging  becomes elaborate and c o n s i s t s of several l o c a t i o n s . In E l tragaluz d i f f e r e n t scenes are i l l u m i n a t e d at d i f f e r e n t times and events can be happening simultaneously i n more than one place. Chronological development can be seen i n the p r o t a g o n i s t s , as w e l l .  Those of the e a r l y . p l a y s , although they are r e a l i s t i c  and  moving, are stark sketches i n comparison to those of the l a t e r ones. In H i s t o r i a de una e s c a l e r a the characters are merely o u t l i n e d .  They  are t r u e - t o - l i f e types but, they are not outstanding characters.  Las  palabras en l a arena ment;  i s too short to allow f o r much character develop-  the characters are seen i n only one s i t u a t i o n .  Ignacio of En  l a ardiente oscuridad i s the greatest character of Buero's e a r l y works, i n s p i t e of the f a c t that he i s unsympathetic.  In these e a r l y plays  the themes of e x i s t e n t i a l anguish, poverty, revenge, and s p i r i t u a l b l i n d ness take precedence over the inner struggle of the p r o t a g o n i s t s , which i s suggested, but not f u l l y revealed. The next group of plays w r i t t e n i n the e a r l y 1 9 5 0 ' s , a l l have woman protagonists.  They are more completely developed than the  - Ik  -  e a r l y p r o t a g o n i s t s , but are s t i l l subservient t o the p l o t or the ideas. In the next two p l a y s , Hoy es f i e s t a and Las cartas boca abajo, the protagonists are on stage throughout almost the e n t i r e play and t h e i r p e r s o n a l i t y c o n s t i t u t e s a major part of the work. S i l v e r i o ' s s t o r y , however,  i s only part o f the scene on the  tenement r o o f - t o p ; whereas Las cartas boca abajo i s mainly a p s y c h o l o g i c a l study of Adela.  The inner f e e l i n g s of both of them are revealed and  they are f u l l y developed characters. The heroes of the l a t e r plays are very sympathetic , w e l l rounded characters.  They are not at a l l p e t t y , but have deep under-  standing and seem t o see things i n perspective. but they have humility, as w e l l . and struggle against them.  They are great men,  They recognize t h e i r own shortcomings  They see the t r u t h and act a c c o r d i n g l y ,  even i f the end r e s u l t means a great s a c r i f i c e f o r them.  Esquilache ,  Velazquez, S i l v a n o , David and Mario are r e a l people whose anguish and m o r a l i t y make them admirable human beings. However, i n s p i t e of the f a c t that i t i s p o s s i b l e to trace t h e i r e v o l u t i o n , the tremendous u n i t y of Buero's protagonists i s r e a l l y more s t r i k i n g .  They a l l portray what Buero has observed as success or  f a i l u r e i n l i f e and what determines t h i s .  Almost a l l the plays contain  the words "veneer" or " t r i u n f a r " i n the l a s t few pages and i t i s up to us to decide who has won and what was t o be conquered.  - 75  -  Egoism i s the major cause of man's inhumanity t o h i s fellowman.  Instead of being motivated by greed and s e l f i s h n e s s , one should  be governed by sympathy and love f o r others.  One should search h i s  heart to determine what the true motivation f o r h i s a c t i o n i s . We a l l face the same problems of death and of g i v i n g meaning to our l i v e s and should u n i t e i n a common struggle to improve the lot  of mankind i n general. The innocent v i c t i m s of the e x i s t i n g chaos are the future  generations.  They are our v i c t i m s i f we cannot improve conditions  and end our carelessness and b l i n d n e s s .  The theme of the p l i g h t of  babies born as a r e s u l t of v i o l e n c e or war appears i n three of Buero's plays:  Aventura en l o g r i s , Hoy es f i e s t a , and Un sofiador para un  pueblo. ness.  In E l t r a g a l u z , a baby i s expected as a r e s u l t of man's s e l f i s h Juanito of Las cartas boca abajo and Carmina and Fernando, h i j o  of H i s t o r i a de una e s c a l e r a represent the younger generation which appears t o be incapable of making a b e t t e r l i f e f o r themselves without our help, although they s t i l l have hope, which t h e i r parents have l o s t . E l t r a g a l u z shows us how the future generations w i l l judge us. Hope f o r and f a i t h i n humanity are a major part of the s o l u t i o n t o the problem.  Where there i s hope and f a i t h , there i s the  p o s s i b i l i t y that improvement can be made.  I t must not be a passive  hope, but must i n v o l v e immediate a c t i o n towards improvement before i t i s too l a t e .  Our l i f e on Earth i s very short.  One has not l i v e d i n v a i n i f  - 76 -  he can d i e knowing that the world has "been a b e t t e r place f o r others because of him and that he has done a l l he could t o seek the t r u t h w i t h i n himself and f i g h t against h i s l i m i t a t i o n s .  One should not be "ciego"  or " l o c o " , but should be a dreamer and a man of a c t i o n .  Man's only  r e a l happiness and worthwhile a c t i o n l i e s i n the impossible struggle to make a b e t t e r world.  He should begin w i t h i n h i m s e l f , although the  process may be a tortuous one and end i n doubt and sadness as i t does for many of Buero's p r o t a g o n i s t s . We must not be weak and d r i f t a i m l e s s l y or be e a s i l y l e d , but must decide f o r ourselves what i s r i g h t and do i t .  I f everyone  conquered i n l i f e by making h i s good side triumph "cette amelioration profonde et r e e l l e de l'humanite dont tous l e s hommes conscients ont 'reve' depuis que l e monde est monde. -85 would have been achieved and so would a b e t t e r world? *Two plays which Buero V a l l e j o wrote a f t e r the time at which t h i s study was begun and which are, t h e r e f o r e , not discussed i n i t are: Mito (a l i b r e t o f o r an opera) and E l sueno de l a razon, which has. as i t s p r o t a g o n i s t , Goya, and which would have been included under the heading of h i s t o r i c a l works. Mito:  Coleccion t e a t r o , Ediciones A l f i l .  E l sueno de l a razon:  85.  R e v i s t a Primer Acto.  Jean Paul B o r e l , "Buero V a l l e j o ou 1'impossible concret et h i s t o r i q u e " , Theatre de 1'Impossible, Neuchatel, E d i t i o n s de l a Baconniere, 1963, p. 183.  - 77 -  BIBLIOGRAPHY  B o r e l , J . P. Le Theatre de 1'.impossible.  l a Baconniere, I963•  Neuchatel, E d i t i o n s de  Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. "Antonio Buero V a l l e j o Answers Seven Questions". The Theatre Annual, V o l . XIX, 1962, pp. 1-6. Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio.  Casi un cuento de hadas.  Madrid, E d i c i o -  nes A l f i l , 1952.(comentario, pp. 73-79)-  Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. • E l c o n c i e r t o de San Ovidio (Prologo, J.P. B o r e l ) . Barcelona, Ayma- S.A. E d i t o r a , 1963. Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. Buero V a l l e j o " .  " E l t e a t r o de Buero V a l l e j o v i s t o por E l primer acto, Wo. 1 ( A b r i l , 1 9 5 7 ) .  Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. En l a ardiente oscuridad.. nes A l f i l , 195^. (comentario pp. 85-9*0.  Madrid, E d i c i o -  Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. H i s t o r i a de una e s c a l e r a . Madrid, E d i c i o nes A l f i l , 1952.(comentario, pp. 85-87). Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio.  La senal que se espera. Madrid, Ediciones  A l f i l , 1952.(comentario, pp. 6 5 - 7 1 ) -  Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. La t e j e d o r a de suenos. A l f i l i 1952. (comentario, pp. 75-&7).  Madrid, Ediciones  Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. Las Meninas. I d i t o r Juan Rodriguez C a s t e l l a n o . New York, Charles S c r i b e r ' s Sons, 1963. Corrigan Robert ¥. Tragedy: V i s i o n and Form. Co., San F r a n c i s c o , 1965. D i a z - P l a j a , G. La voz iluminada. 1952.  Chandler P u b l i s h i n g  Barcelona, I n s t i t u t o d e l Teatro,  Fernandez-Santos, Angel. " E l enigma de " E l t r a g a l u z " " . E l primer acto, Wo. 90, November, I967, pp. Fernandez-Santos, Angel. "Una e n t r e v i s t a con Buero V a l l e j o " . E l primer a c t o , No. 90, November, 1967, pp. 7-15-  - 78 -  I l a r a z , F e l i x . G., ed. Buero: Las cartas "boca abajo. Englewood C l i f f s , New Jersey, P r e n t i c e - H a l l I n c . , 1967. [copyright 1958U Magana S c h e v i l l , I s a b e l , ed. Dos dramas de Buero V a l l e j o : Las palabras en l a arena; Aventura en l o g r i s . New York, Appleton-CenturyC r o f t s , 1967. Mandel, Oscar. A D e f i n i t i o n of Tragedy.  New York, U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s ,  1961.  Marquerie, A l f r e d o . n a l , 1959.  Veinte afios de t e a t r o en Espana. Madrid,^Editora Nacio-  M i c h e l , Laurence and Richard B. Sewall. Tragedy: Modern'Essays i n C r i t i c i s m . Englewood C l i f f s , New J e r s e y , . P r e n t i c e - H a l l , I96U. Monleon, Jose, ed.  E l m i r l o bianco 10: Antonio Buero V a l l e j o .  Madrid,  Taurus E d i c i o n e s , I968.  Perez M i n i k , Domingo. Teatro EuropeO cOritemporarieo. nes Guadarrama, 1961. Rodriguez, Miguel L u i s .  Madrid, E d i c i o -  "Dialogo con Antonio Buero V a l l e j o . " I n d i e e ,  116-117, Aug-Sept. 1968,  pp. 21-22.  Teatro espanol 19^9-50. Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. " H i s t o r i a de una e s c a l e r a " . Madrid, A g u i l a r , 1955, ( c r i t i c a s pp. 93-98). Teatro espanol 1950-51. Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. "En l a ardiente oscuridad". Madrid, A g u i l a r , 1952, ( c r i t i c a s pp. 95-101). Teatro espanol 1951-52. Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. "La t e j e d o r a de suenos". Madrid, A g u i l a r , 1953, ( c r i t i c a s pp. 28U-289). Teatro espanol 1953-5^-• Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. "Madrugada". Madrid, A g u i l a r , 1955, ( c r i t i c a s pp. lk3-lh9). Teatro espanol 195^-55. Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. "Irene o e l t e s o r o " . Madrid, A g u i l a r , 1959, ( c r i t i c a s pp. I 8 I - I 8 7 ) . Teatro espanol 1956-57. Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. "Hoy es f i e s t a " . Madrid, A g u i l a r , 1958, ( c r i t i c a s pp. 37-^1). Teatro espanol 1957-58. Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. "Las cartas boca abajo". Madrid, A g u i l a r , 1959, ( c r i t i c a s pp. 3-10).  - 79 -  Teatro espanol 1958-59• Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. "Un sonador para un pueblo". Madrid, A g u i l a r , i960, ( c r i t i c a s pp. 197-203).  Teatro espanol 1960-61. Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. "Las Meninas". Madrid, A g u i l a r , I962, ( c r i t i c a s pp. 71-79). Teatro espanol 1962-63. Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. " E l concierto de San Ovidio". Madrid, A g u i l a r , 1 9 6 k , ( c r i t i c a s pp. 71-79). Teatro espanol 1967-68. Buero V a l l e j o , Antonio. " E l t r a g a l u z " . Madrid, A g u i l a r , 1969, ( c r i t i c a s pp. 153-l6o). Torrente B a l l e s t e r , Gonzalo. Panorama de l a l i t e r a t u r a espanola I . Madrid, Ediciones Guadarrama, 1961. Torrente B a l l e s t e r , Gonzalo. Teatro espanol contemporaneo. Ediciones Guadarrama, 1957.  Madrid,  Trakas, Pedro IT., ed. E l c o n c i e r t o de San O v i d i o , Antonio Buero V a l l e j o . New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1965. Valbuena P r a t , Angel. H i s t o r i a d e l t e a t r o espanol. E d i t o r a Noguer, S.A., 1956.  Barcelona,  

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