This thesis explores the relationship between the plurality of polyphonic and independent voices and consciousnesses, a Mikhail Bakhtin's concept, in two plays by Lope de Vega. El maestro de Danzar y El bobo del colegio are two of his least known and studied. Both plays present protagonists, simple citizens, which pretend to court two noble ladies. Under these circumstances, they are forced to avoid social rejection, issue guaranteed by their humble lineage. In order to complete their undertaking, they disguise as a dance teacher and a university fool. This process shields them from, the above mentioned, traditional disapproval they are subject to. It also entitles them to become, symbolically and virtually, the main dialogic executors in the play. Bakhtin depicts the process of embracing an alternate identity, different from their own, as a vital part of carnival. It compels the leading characters, El maestro and El bobo being no exception, to undergo two changes. First, they become a new individual, recognizable only to those who are aware of their masks. Second, their voices attract attention to the point of influencing the preeminent nobles of the comedy to follow their lead. Further, their ideas come to matter more than those of any other voice in the comedy. In the beginning they follow an ideal, and are subdued by social hierarchy. At the conclusion, they finish leading and controlling the polyphonic relationship between the independent voices and consciousnesses of the other characters in the play. And rather than a conflict, both comedies depict a harmonic social interaction of all their characters. Although scholarship exists analyzing individual plays, a comprehensive study of the effective association between language and disguise favoring a villano over high-class citizens has never been undertaken. This is Lope's strategy to plainly contrast the traditional social differentiation of classes.



College and Department

Humanities; Spanish and Portuguese



Date Submitted


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Lope de Vega, Mikhail Bakhtin, El maestro de danzar, El bobo del colegio, play, comedy, Naples, Navarre, Tudela, Salamanca, Valencia, maestro, danza, disguise, Carnival, polyphony, harmony, consciousness, dialogue