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The Comedia and the Classics

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Chapter Summary

Spanish Golden Age theater is known for its rejection of the classics. And yet, before the advent of Lope de Vega, during the late 16th century many plays were written in imitation of classical tragedy. After a brief glance at these early plays and how they inadvertently paved the way for the future of the comedia, this chapter turns to Cervantes's Numancia, the one canonical play from this period, so as to understand how it differs radically from the new comedy as established by Lope de Vega (1562-1635). It then analyzes Lope's famous treatise Arte nuevo de hacer comedias [New Art of Writing Plays] to determine the reasons utilized for the rejection of the classics and to uncover within this very work a more subtle insertion of the ancients. The chapter explores some of the ways in which classicizing elements of comedy survived, comparing Terence and Lope de Vega.

Keywords: Cervantes's Numancia; classical tragedy; comedia; Lope de Vega; Spanish Golden Age theater; Terence

10.1163/9789004263017_005
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