Title

The Limits of Privilege and the Sins of Don Juan

Subject Area

Spanish Peninsular Studies

Abstract

Don Juan Tenorio is one of the most famous characters of world literature, and certainly Spanish literature. Oft translated and reimagined, this figure has been attracting attention since 1630 for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps one reason particularly relevant for the twenty-first century is that Don Juan’s story shows the limits of privilege. Going back to Tirso’s El burlador de Sevilla, we see that Don Juan has all the comforts of his time: money, title, charm, prestige, family honor. However, he turns his back on his upbringing, choosing to squander his time with deceptive conquests. In spite of his affluent background, Don Juan does suffer for his crimes. Slowly but surely, his punishment builds, culminating in a personal escort to hell. This phenomena is in direct contrast with the prevailing idea that those of means are able to commit crimes, in varying degrees of severity, and escape with minimal or no punishment. In this paper, we will seek to establish the fascination with Don Juan into the twenty-first century, relating the work to contemporary situations, as we approach the 500th anniversary of its publication.

Brief Bio Note

BA, Spanish, Charleston Southern University

MA, Spanish, University of South Carolina.

PhD (ABD), Spanish, University of South Carolina. Dissertation: The Continuity of Contrast Between the Renaissance and Baroque

Areas of Research: Golden Age Peninsular Drama, Post-Civil War Spanish Drama, Post-Civil War Irish Drama

Keywords

Don Juan, Privilege, Punishment, Spanish Drama, Baroque

Location

Room 218

Presentation Year

March 2017

Start Date

3-24-2017 2:35 PM

Embargo

10-24-2016

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Mar 24th, 2:35 PM

The Limits of Privilege and the Sins of Don Juan

Room 218

Don Juan Tenorio is one of the most famous characters of world literature, and certainly Spanish literature. Oft translated and reimagined, this figure has been attracting attention since 1630 for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps one reason particularly relevant for the twenty-first century is that Don Juan’s story shows the limits of privilege. Going back to Tirso’s El burlador de Sevilla, we see that Don Juan has all the comforts of his time: money, title, charm, prestige, family honor. However, he turns his back on his upbringing, choosing to squander his time with deceptive conquests. In spite of his affluent background, Don Juan does suffer for his crimes. Slowly but surely, his punishment builds, culminating in a personal escort to hell. This phenomena is in direct contrast with the prevailing idea that those of means are able to commit crimes, in varying degrees of severity, and escape with minimal or no punishment. In this paper, we will seek to establish the fascination with Don Juan into the twenty-first century, relating the work to contemporary situations, as we approach the 500th anniversary of its publication.