Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

The Vindication of King Gaulo: Anger Management in Cárcel De Amor

Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

The Vindication of King Gaulo: Anger Management in Cárcel De Amor

Article excerpt

Abstract

Readers have condemned King Gaulo of Cárcel de amor because, presumably blinded by anger, he unjustly sentenced his daughter Laureola to death. instead of the historical circumstances of late fifteenth-century Castile that, according to some critics, contextualize the events of the romance, i analyse the romance with respect to the legal notion of ira regia and the common wisdom regarding anger and administration of justice, which were disseminated in medieval sapiential and legal literature. Thus contextualized close reading exonerates King Gaulo of the charges of intemperance, cruelty and disregard for justice. The parallels between the sentimental and the legal plot of the romance show that King Gaulo and Laureola take turns to advocate strict or lenient administration of justice. The resulting dilemmas and events illustrate ironically the capricious rule of fortune over the concerted human efforts to control their affairs.

Resumen

Los lectores han condenado al rey Gaulo de Cárcel de amor porque, supuestamente cegado por la saña, había sentenciado injustamente a su hija Laureola a la muerte. En lugar de las circunstancias históricas de castilla del siglo XV tardío que, según algunos críticos, contextualizan los eventos en el texto, analizo la novela según la noción de la ira regia, y el saber común sobre la ira y la administración de la justicia, tal y como fueron diseminadas estas nociones en la literatura sapiencial y legal medieval. así contextualizada, una lectura cuidadosa del texto salva al rey de las condenas de la desmesura, crueldad e indiferencia hacia la justicia. Los paralelos entre la trama sentimental y legal del texto demuestran que el Rey y Laureola abogan por turnos por la administración estricta o relajada de las leyes. Los dilemas y eventos que resultan ilustran irónicamente el caprichoso gobierno de la fortuna sobre los expresos esfuerzos humanos de controlar su destino.

Twentieth-century Hispanists have felt little sympathy for King Gaulo of Diego de San Pedro's Cárcel de amor. Having allegedly hindered the romance between Leriano and Laureola and having sentenced his daughter to death he caused much displeasure to readers. In an influential article, 'Cárcel de amor, novela política', Francisco Márquez Villanueva (1966) proposed that Cárcel should be reread as a political, rather than a sentimental novel. This idea was based primarily on the critic's evaluation of King Gaulo and his motivations:

Un Rey todopoderoso y, como allí se dice, 'turbado' por una aberrante pasión, se vuelve de espaldas a todo sentimiento humano y a toda responsabilidad jurídica para aniquilar a su propia hija. Su parcialidad y su prejuicio sanguinario contra Laureola [...] se muestran a las claras cuando prohibe que el juicio de dios contra Persio llegue a su ya indudable desenlace. desde este momento presenciamos la pugna del sañudo Rey con las voces de la justicia, de la religión, y de la sangre, que se estrellarán ante el acantilado de su ciega y 'turbada' voluntad. (Márquez Villanueva 1976: 147)

Márquez Villanueva argued that the only way to understand the intercalated episode of Leriano's rebellion against the King is to consider it on one hand as an illustration of medieval political theory that claims the right to resistance to tyrannical rule, and on the other hand as the converso San Pedro's oblique critique of the catholic Monarchs' instituting of the inquisition. Thus, according to this scholar, the King's treatment of his daughter was a political allegory of the catholic Monarchs' absolute rule, as well as an elaboration of the folkloric motif of incestuous father. Márquez Villanueva's analysis fuelled other studies that condemned the King. Santiago Tejerina-Canal (1984) went on to explore tyranny, which he perceived not only in the King's actions but also in the tyrannical forces of feelings, fortune and honour, as an overarching motif of diego de San Pedro's masterpiece. …

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