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António Ferreira’s Castro: Tragedy at the Cross-Roads

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Chapter Summary

António Ferreira's verse tragedy Castro, based on a famous incident taken from the history of Portugal and written in Portuguese, is a product of the middle years of the sixteenth century. There are formal or structural ambiguities also, particularly noticeable in Ferreira's treatment of the chorus. Ferreira conceived of his choruses not just as a way of introducing moralizing comment, but also, and principally, as a way of emphasizing the contradictory nature of the action and characters of his play. The traditional view that Castro is a Senecan play in Portuguese is true only in the sense that Ferreira owed a great deal formally to his Roman predecessor. Ferreira's play deals with the great issues of tragedy and of life, love, fate, time and death. Perhaps Ferreira is closer in spirit to the plays by Euripides that he knew, and the Neo-Latin tragedies of Buchanan, especially Jephthes.

Keywords:António Ferreira's; Castro; Euripides; Jephthes; Neo-Latin; Portuguese; Roman



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