Essays in Honor of Matthew D. Stroud
Edited By Gwyn E. Campbell and Amy R. Williamsen
“Nada me digas”: Silencing and Silence in Comedia Domestic Relationships
SUSAN L. FISCHER Bucknell University
“Nada me digas … Ya sé que querrás decirme” (III.2825, 2827) [Not another word … I know exactly what you’re thinking (Johnston and Boswell 113)] states a confidently unaware Don Luis, silencing his son Don Álvaro and presumptuously projecting his own thoughts onto him when the latter attempts to explain “todo el suceso” (III.2823), the whole matter, in Calderón’s El pintor de su deshonra [The Painter of His Dishonour].1 This “infelicitous” performative that “misfires,” to use J. L. Austin’s terminology in How to Do Things with Words, is hardly unexpected if we have been reading the signifieds in the protuberating stories of the gracioso or “fool,” Juanete, which were either hushed or fell upon deaf ears throughout the action (see Fischer, “Function”). We all know the inevitable outcome of that lapse in communication dictated by received social constraints of reputation and a practice of silencing those who are presumed not to be in the know: a wife murder lauded by the authorities-that-be, because the husband’s imagined (or “painted”) (dis)honor is arguably restored in a final and inevitable spectacle of deafness and silence.
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