Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
This work investigates the evolution of Laurencia, the main feminine character of Lope's famous play Fuenteovejuna by focusing on the dramatization of the concept of honor. The character is therefore studied as the personification of the Honor that in this play Lope attributes to a social group which traditionally had been denied the possession of any honor. At the same time, it explores her gender identity by examining her interactions with the other characters on one hand, and the correlations between her discourse and the elements related to her appearance, like dress and hair, on the other hand. Laurencia, who responds to a violent act by taking arms and inciting a whole village to rebel against its commander, manages to trespass gender delineations by focusing solely on the defense of her honor. Thus, through her actions, Laurencia comes forth neither as a woman nor daughter, but as an almost statuesque incarnation of honor- that ever present ruling concept in Spanish Golden Age plays. Even if she transgresses society rules by becoming a rebel, Lope's character is subordinate to this code of honor-justice which leads to her becoming a political tool, not only because she helps reestablish the dignity of the villagers but because she also determines the change of authority in Fuenteovejuna from a local ruler to the Catholic Kings. Lope, like many other writers at the time including Cervantes, transforms and stages the concept of honor into a female character. The paper takes all these aspects into consideration, and also examines how the evolvement of Laurencia (the evolvement of the concept of honor) reflects the social-political changes during the reign of the Catholic King.