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Give me Freedom

"It is this "hacer bien" that becomes the condition of free will: Segismundo must learn that he is not free to do whatever he chooses; he only is, or will be, 'free to do what the hierarchy of powers has determined os allowable or appropriate. Free will is thus something closer to 'acceptable constraint'" (Sears)

Segismundo, in La vida es sueno must learn the true meaning of free will. The education that he was offered through Clotaldo is not enough, only because Segismundo has never been allowed the opportunity to interact with other people. His conceptions of true freedom is skewed in his alienation.

The "test" his father Basilio gives to him by letting him out of the prison was doomed from the start. Segismundo had to learn that even free will comes with rules and laws that the human race has to obey, meaning with free will comes responsibility. Segismundo begins to learn this at the end of the play when he constrains himself from his "true" nature, which is quite animalistic.

Back to class.

Comments (4)

Derek Tickle:


Segismundo reminds me of someone who is enslaved and not able to chose his own answers.

I also think that Basilio doomed his son from the beginning because it was similar to an experiment - I used this in my paper!

Do you think that Basilio was "testing" his son for a specific result?

I kept thinking of how he reminded me of a slave during the 19th century. Many landowners would test the slaves by letting them plow the fields alone, but if they tested the rules then they would be sold or hurt.

He is being treated like an animal that is abused.

Good quote!


I agree, Segismundo was very nearly doomed from conception. Having been locked away since birth it was exceedingly difficult for him to interact appropriately with people upon his release. This lends significance to the development of Segismundo as we see him at the end of the play. The education Segismundo received from Clotaldo was meaningless and inefficiant when we see the self-realization and wisdom develop naturally from Segismundo along with his decision to accept the responsibility of his birthright. Segismundo's character is very similar to that of Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, another character who was born of nobility and had been locked away for many years by his father in an attempt to "protect" Siddhartha from the ugliness of the outside world. It is only when Siddhartha becomes aware of the outside world that he is able to acheive the success or power he was destined for--this is not very far off from the tale of Segismundo.

Bethany Merryman:

I found this interesting as well. Free will definitely has it's limitations and isn't FREEDOM. There are certainly differences between the two and the struggle to realize this is an important lesson.

james lohr:

Do you think it is so much that Segismundo has not had the opportunity to socialize with others, or could there be more too it? I saw him as a the equivalent of a college freshmen, who has had overbearing parents. Once set free on a college campus, the freedom is too much for the student, and they fall head over heels into something they cannot control. I do however agree with you that even free will comes with a large amount of responsibility. But i often wonder how much of that responsibility comes only through those we love. How many choices have i made because i knew someone would be disappointed in me if i did not make a certain choice. Even at the expense of doing what i believed was best for me.

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