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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Arlequín y Polichinela, Valle Inclán y García Lorca : estudio comparativo, histórico y literario sobre la commedia dell’arte y los títeres Avila Hesles, Gerardo


The popularity of commercial theatre such as the "melodrama" and the "género chico" presented a barrier to new and experimental theatre at the turn of the twentieth century in Spain. Foremost among the dramatists who attempted to overcome such obstacle were Ramón del Valle Inclán and Federico García Lorca whose early productions were based on commedia dell' arte, puppetry, and generally in popular traditional theatre. The first part of this study (written in Spanish) explores the origins and development of Harlequin in the Italian commedia and traces his presence in the Spanish Renaissance using the work of Cervantes as an example. The historical background of Harlequin is indispensable in understanding Valle Inclán's attitudes towards the commedia. Harlequin is the central figure in his play La Marquesa Rosalinda first performed in 1912. Valle Inclán uses names found in Cervantes's works and through metaphores, sets out to explain the canons of commedia dell' arte that was the heart and pulse of popular theatre in the Renaissance. This thesis examines the height and decline of the commedia in the eighteenth century and includes a study of La Marquesa Rosalinda in terms of its indebitness to the commedia on one hand and Valle Inclán's original development on the other. The second half of this study deals with two works of García Lorca that involve his character Don Cristóbal Polichinela. Don Cristóbal, based on the popular Spanish puppet of the same name, has been inspired by the masked Punchinello of the seventeenth century commedia. A historical and literary appraisal is used to trace the most important characteristics of Punchinello including his transformation from a man into a puppet. Particular emphasis is placed upon the presence of this puppet in Spain, its connection to Harlequin, and the utilization of Punchinello by García Lorca. To conclude this thesis, a comparative study based on the two zanies, Harlequin and Punchinello, enlightens the reasons and motives for the use of puppets and puppets-like characters in the works of Valle Inclán and García Lorca.

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