If "Life is a Dream," Why Do I Bother?

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Ok...so I admit the title has nothing to do with my entry, but I just thought it was funny.

From “Life is a Dream” by Pedro Calderon de la Barca:

Clo:        Convinced by your reasoning,

 I shall be generous first!

 Rosaura, I shall give you

 my property; take it and live

 in a convent; the plan

 I have in mind is well thought out…” (147)

When I read this dialogue, I was immediately reminded of Hamlet’s famous lines to Ophelia, “Get thee to a nunn'ry…” (Hamlet III.i.120).  The context within itself is very different for Clotaldo is telling Rosaura to leave to a place of refuge because civil war is about to break out.  Hamlet is telling, in an insulting manner, to leave the kingdom and go join a nunnery/brothel (depending on how you think it should be interpreted).  But isn’t Hamlet only telling Ophelia that because he cared about her?  I guess whether or not the context is different depends on how you view Hamlet.  If you think that Hamlet was insane and was just blurting out whatever he thought would be hurtful, then maybe he wasn’t trying to protect her.  However, if he was sane, he may have only been trying to communicate that she leave the kingdom for it was no longer safe; Ophelia was just too stupid to see that.  I guess that this depends on your reader-response. 

We know that Clotaldo is saying this to protect his daughter.  She, however, does not want to be protected, she wants vengeance, what rightfully belongs to her. 

I saw other parallels between the “Life is a Dream” and other literary works, as well.  What did you see?  What kind of intertextual relations did you find?

Course webpage.

Click here to see what I thought about Seton Hill's presentation of "Life is a Dream"




Katie Vann said:

I saw mainly connections with the text and Hamlet. I read the play first before looking at the introduction and I could see the connections even before I realized the introduction mentioned it. It was mainly because of Segismundo. I could see many similar characteristics between him and Hamlet. For example, I could see at the beginning of the play that Segimsundo was a little crazy, but that he had qualities that were going to cause him to probably be the hero of the play (whether he was going to be a tragic hero or have a happy ending, I had no idea). Anyways, I also liked the connection you made above connecting Ophelia and the play.
I think when you look at the description you gave of the relationship between Clotaldo and Rosaura, you also have to look at the circumstances they were under. It's true that Rosaura didn't want protection, but she also didn't understand the role Clotaldo had in her life (her father). Had she found this out from the beginning, I wonder if she had reacted to him differently.

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