Institute for the Classical Tradition
International Journal of the Classical Tradition
Álvaro Fernández Fernández, "Edipo, Tragedia de Martínez de la Rosa," IJCT 13 (2006-2007), pp. 384-408.

Before writing his tragedy Edipo, which was published in Paris in 1829 and performed for the first time by Grimaldi’s company in Seville in 1830, Martínez de la Rosa pursued the Oedipus theme in European literature. Among the main adaptations of Sophocles’ Oidipous turannos there were the versions by Seneca, Dryden, Corneille, Voltaire, and La Motte. Neoclassical criticism had censured three faults in Sophocles’ play: some events are lacking in verisimilitude; Creon is dispensable because of his scanty contribution to the story; and the fifth act becomes meaningless after Oedipus’ identity has being revealed. Martínez de la Rosa’s assessments of both classical and modern versions of the Oedipus myth, as well as the opinions of the eighteenth-century critcs, give us clues for understanding the ways in which he conceived his own version. The Edipo, which amalgamates neoclassical with romantic elements, addresses the most distinct themes of Spanish romantic drama: unwitting killing of a relative, incest, suicide, fatalistic love that leads to insanity or death, recognition of self-identity, tragic fate of hero, rupture of familial unity, term announced by divinity for punishing the guilty, bloody incidents, sepulchers and ghosts. Furthermore, the hypothesis is defended here that, by means of Edipo, Martínez de la Rosa tried subtly to persuade King Fernando VII (1808 and 1814-1833) to renounce absolutism.


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