Final Paper - Allison Taylor History 129A Ruiz June 1 2011...

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Allison Taylor History 129A- Ruiz June 1, 2011 Reader: Mary Momdijan LA CELESTINA La Celestina was originally published anonymously in 1499. As history progressed, the story became attributed to Fernando de Rojas, who reportedly never published any other works. He was never associated with any other works nor was he ever mentioned by any of his literary contemporaries. The somewhat mysterious Rojas is thought to have lived from approximately 1473 to 1541. Even though he is not remembered as an author with countless amounts of well-known works, through his creation of the character Celestina, he developed one of the most memorable characters in Spanish literature. Originally titled Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea , La Celestina tells the tale of a tragic love affair set in the early stages of the Spanish literary Renaissance. Although Rojas’ life is not adequately documented, the footprint La Celestina left on the history of Spanish literature is prominent. A young noble man, Calisto, who lives in town and is not known for doing anything, is the focal character of La Celestina. The play is similar to traditional medieval elegiac comedy, but ends very differently. Calisto immediately falls madly in love with Melibea. However, his love for her is better defined as lust for her. Melibea rejects Calisto after he openly pours his heart out about his undying love for her. In an effort to woo the untouchable maiden and disseminate his depression and lovesickness, Calisto abides by his corrupt servant’s suggestion of asking the procuress, Celestina, for her services. Calisto approaches Celestina, who is known to own a brothel with prostitutes, for her help even though another servant, Parmeno, enthusiastically and unsuccessfully
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warns Calisto about how dangerous Celestina’s work has proven to be. Upset with being rejected, Parmeno joins Celestina and Sempronio in taking advantage of Calisto. Celestina eventually convinces Melibea to give herself up to Calisto after giving her a magic thread, and she finds herself madly in love. Calisto then gives Celestina a gold chain, which she keeps secret from Sempronio and Parmeno. After they found out about Celestina’s confidentiality regarding the payment, they kill her. In fear of being caught and punished, they leap to their deaths, except one of the prostitutes has already witnessed their homicidal act. Calisto then falls down a ladder trying to reach Melibea and following his tragic death, Melibea throws herself down a tower to her death after confessing her tragic love affair with Calisto. As with most historic literature at this time there is a strong criticism and running commentary of Spanish contemporary society weaved throughout the story. Readers can easily find some of Fernando de Rojas’ idea regarding Spanish society as a whole including socioeconomic changes, religion, greed, and lust rather than love. It is evident that Rojas’ is criticizing the structure of Spanish social classes. In particular, it seems as if
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Final Paper - Allison Taylor History 129A Ruiz June 1 2011...

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