Desire and Death in the Spanish Sentimental Romance (1440-1550)

By Patricia E. Grieve | Go to book overview

Yo supe mejor guardar el amistad que tú conservarla, y si en plaça no me afrontaras, de mi desculpa en secreto satisfecho fueras, la cual saviendo, más por cierto que por engañoso me juzgaras, porque más por remedio tuyo que por provecho mío a Lucenda por muger resciví, creyendo que su casamiento para en tus males atajo serI+00EDa. (p. 145)

Arnalte is overcome with jealousy and, even though it seemed that his own interest in Lucenda had abated somewhat, new intensity of feeling is aroused. He challenges Elierso to a duel and kills him. This consequence is in keeping with my contention that in the sentimental romances physical love is always connected with violence. We can assume that Elierso and Lucenda consummated their marriage. Even though neither of the original lovers--Arnalte and Lucenda--dies in this work, it is similar to the other sentimental romances of violent love in that the person who does pursue and achieve a physical relationship with a lover will die, in this case, Elierso, the third point of the triangle. That is not to say that marriage itself is wrong. Indeed, the ending, Belisa's marriage to a gentleman, is clearly a favorable action. Elierso was deceiving himself consciously or unconsciously in his self-proclaimed altruistic motive for marrying Lucenda. No doubt he, too, was caught in desire's web and paid the penalty exacted in these romances.


Conclusion

What all this suggests, therefore, is the purpose behind the tensions: the comic acts juxtaposed with lofty speeches; the actions intended to provoke Lucenda's acquiescence and the rhetorical laments associated with cancionero and troubadour poetry; the concept of soledad, now referring to contemplative solitude, now to lurking in the darkness; the tensions presented by the ever-changing triangular relationships, and, finally, the tension created by the merging of Arnalte and Belisa, by Elierso's mimetic desire, and the varied results of these actions--marriage for one person, exile for another, and death for the third. In generalizing the differences between San Pedro's works and those of Flores, Pamela Waley says:

The novels of Diego de San Pedro are concerned with the idealized conception of love that belongs to the realm of poetry; those of Juan de Flores derive largely from the fiction of Boccaccio, and in the main discuss love as observed behaviour between men and women. (p. 263)

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