Clarin...Pulling a Melville in Disguise?

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"ALL: Give us your soles!

CLA: I can't, because I need them for myself, and it would be a defect to be a soulless prince" (Calderon 129)

I had to pick this quote because it immediately reminded of Derek's blog that he created for our blog carnival about "The Dead". In it, he discussed the use of sole vs. souls that occurred often throughout scenes in Joyce's work. This quote brings the pun straight out without trying to hide it.

Throughout the entire story, I kept trying to figure out the importance on Clarin. I understood him to be a funny character, but I also felt that his role was more important than he appeared. Then, when I went back and read the intro of the story, I realized that his role was important to holding the story together (which is why an intro is put before a story, so read it first). Clarin was a "gracioso". First of all, let's look at what this word means:

      "A role type particularly characteristic of Spanish Golden Age drama is the gracioso ("comic"), often a shrewd and witty but selfish, greedy, and cowardly servant or other lower-class figure, a spokesman for the 'sensible' but materialistic and circumscribed point of view. The gracioso might merely inject punning one-liners, but in the better plays, like La vida es sueno, he could be crucial to the action" (vii).

Then later on in the intro, I saw what kind of gracioso Clarin was meant to be: "Clarin is in many ways the paragon of graciosos-- timorous, greedy, self-seeking, sly, amoral, and endlessly punning-- but his adventure in Act Three raises his status immeasurably and links him solidly to the overall message of the play" (xiii).

Ok, now that I got confirmation that Clarin's role, thought slightly smaller than the rest and appearing less serious, was acutally very important to the course of the play. However, I can't see how important his role was. I understand why he was locked in the tower and how his speech when he died caused Clotaldo, Basilio, and Astolfo to turn around and confront Segismundo, but does this importance have something to do with how the three of them confronted Segismundo? I feel like most of Clarin's importances lies in that final speech, but I'm not sure if I am looking in the right direction or if I'm completely missing.  

It seems like all the funny lines and the smaller amount of lines that Clarin had were almost like a distraction to his importance. I felt like I was readiny a little bit of Melville, I was distracted by the jokes and surrounding action, yet I missed the important message and symbol that was lying underneath. Did anyone see Clarin more clearly than I did? 

Bye

 

4 Comments

Derek Tickle said:

Great Job at comparing two texts!!

So what about this:

If you believe that the funny lines from Clarin were "like a distractions," then how about Melville's intended, or not, distraction of Delano and Cereno?

As I was reading the texts from this week, I felt like all of them began to relate together or was it because of the topic (psychology.

I particulary didn't focus on Clarin too much, but rather on Segismundo and how he was treated.

I thought about What if your Life was a Dream of Reality and decided how Segismundo ended in marriage, but was the marriage reality or a dream?

If Clarin thinks it will be "a defect to be souless," then what about Segismundo who almost became souless before taking power?

And what about this - Segismundo "walked" his way to power through fighting and defending people which ended in Clarin dieing. So why didn't Clarin give up his "soul"
in the first place? Is it because he did not know whether he was in a dream or reality?

This text was very interesting and pushed a lot of my psychological knowledge and learned criticism.

Katie Vann said:

Derek, when you asked why didn't Clarin give up his soul in the first place, do you mean when the guards were asking him for his "soles" or do you mean something else? Like why did he hide instead of facing the fight since that what his speech was about when he died. I just wanted to make sure I understood what you were talking about.

Good conversation you two! I think that, like any comedic character, Clarin was in there to lighten the mood of the play. It was very serious and very dramatic. You could look at it "as a distraction," but I think the the author would have intended Clarin to make his audience laugh. People like funny. When you can present a powerful message and manage to make your audience laugh it is a double whammy. People who like deep pychological morals would go see this play and people who enjoy a good character to make them laugh would also go see the play.

Derek Tickle said:

Katie - I was thinking about why didn't Clarin give up his soul since the play resulted in his death? Then again, how would he know that?

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