Essays in Honor of Matthew D. Stroud
The Queen’s Dreams: Lope’s Representation of Queen Isabel I in El mejor mozo de España and El niño inocente de La Guardia
BARBARA F. WEISSBERGER University of Minnesota, Emerita
Lope was clearly fascinated by the founding mother of the Spanish nation. In fourteen of his plays she is at least mentioned; in six of them she plays a major role.1 Until recently, however, only Fuenteovejuna has received extensive critical attention. In this essay I deal with a very effective dramatic element in two of the lesser-studied plays, El niño inocente de La Guardia [The Innocent Child of La Guardia] (written between1594 and 1597)2 and El mejor mozo de España [The Best Boy in Spain] (1611). Early in Act I, Scene One in each play, Isabel falls asleep and dreams. The Queen’s dreams materialize on stage, and in them a powerful allegorical or historical figure exhorts Isabel to unify and purify her kingdom by eliminating its religious and ethnic minorities. These staged dreams provide a window into the powerful ruler’s unconscious, as imagined by Lope, and empower her to act.
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