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The Deceitful Marriage' and 'The Dialogue of the Dogs' by Miguel Cervantes A distinguished place in the creative work of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra occupies his Novelas Exemplares (Moral or Instructive Tales). They could be of the same significance for the Spaniards as the novels of Boccaccio for Italians. The Cervantes novels are very different but they have a feature which unites them all, they are written in refined smooth language. A genre of short stories which employs Cervantes was very popular in medieval literature.
It is worth recollecting frame-stories like The Canterbury Tales and the Arabian Nights which were a commonplace in the medieval literature. The main feature of the Cervantes novels is that they bring the harmless entertainment. Cervantes himself qualified them as Novelas exemplars de honestisimo entretenimiento (Exemplary Novels of the Most Harmless Entertainment). The main aim of Cervantes was to bring his readers a new form of the entertainment which would never offend his readers. In his brilliant story The Deceitful Marriage Cervantes tries to teach his readers that marriage and love are different from just merely a way to increase the fortune. The lesson which could be learnt from this tale is that the marriage and lie, love and the aspiration for the fortune are incompatible.
Just an ordinary story which may happen at any place and any time was given the special exemplary meaning by Cervantes. The story of the Campuzano's marriage is the lesson itself. He did not see a face of Dona Estefania de Caycedo but he decided to marry her at once. Their discussions began with the description of the house she owned. The most impressive feature of a lady for Campuzano was. the lady displayed a very white hand, with very handsome rings 1.
Cervantes emphasizes in appearance of Campuzano thick gold chain which appeared to be fake. The lady impressed by the fake jewelry of Campuzano presented her house which was the fake property of hers. The reaction of Campuzano to the false humble speech of Dona Estefania de Caycedo was straight Delighted beyond imagination, and seeing before me such a quantity of property, which I already beheld by anticipation converted into ready money. 2 Campuzano got into paradise; at least he had tasted this paradise for six days. He even started changing his evil intention for better For six days I tasted the bread of wedlock, enjoying myself like a beggarly bridegroom in the house of a rich father-in-law.
I trod on rich carpets, lay in holland sheets, had silver candlesticks to light me, breakfasted in bed, rose at eleven o'clock, dined at twelve, and at two took my siesta in the drawing-room. Dona Estefania and the servant girl danced attendance upon me; my servant, whom I had always found lazy, was suddenly become nimble as a deer. If ever Dona Estefania quitted my side, it was to go to the kitchen and devote all her care to preparing fricassees to please my palate and quicken my appetite. My shirts, collars, and handkerchiefs were a very Aranjuez of flowers, so drenched they were with fragrant waters. Those days flew fast, like the years which are under the jurisdiction of time; and seeing myself so regaled and so well treated, I began to change for the better the evil intention with which I had begun this affair 2. After six days of happiness the truth revealed.
Actually Dona Estefania and Campuzano were a harmonized couple; they had the same intentions and feelings if the intention to cheat could be called feeling. The illness which attacked Campuzano after Dona Estefania escaped with her lover looks like the Gods punishment. The moralizing character of the story is expressed by Campuzano himself I am well aware that I sought to deceive and that I was deceived, and caught in my own snare; but I cannot command my feelings so much as not to lament over myself. 3 The story ends with the incredible narration of Peralta about the conversation of two dogs, which is a transition to the Dialogue Between Scipio and Berganza. Both stories are linked thematically and formally by the device of presenting the second story as having been written by the protagonist of the first.
The author empowers the dogs to talk and they are talking in a very wise manner. In their discussion they are using sometimes refined elevated language. In their conversation they are touching various issues and sometimes their talk sounds like a conversation between two highly educative men speculating on the various issues. One of the most important themes in the conversation of the dogs is the story about the witch Canizares. The Berganza's confidence that the story told him by Canizares was true was the most impressive in the novel. Berganza's sincerely believes that he was changeling.
The prophetic verses foretell a sort of personal apocalypse, a final return to an original shape by means of which the end will reinstate the beginning. This desire of Berganza for an end that will confirm his beginning and so make sense of his existence becomes a fixation for him. Because it is mediated by the devil's representative it is a dangerous illusion, but nevertheless it points to a pattern which may carry either a negative or a positive sign: the search for the ending that justifies the beginning and thereby confers direction, significance and structure upon the middle. By such strategies we read stories and lives, our own and others. 4.
The confession is one of the most important themes of the stories. The story of the unsuccessful marriage of Campuzano is a confession as well as the story of Berganza can be considered to be confession. Citation The Deceitful Marriage Ibid Ibid Peter N. Dunn Bibliography Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, The Deceitful Marriage, available at web retrieved 11. 11. 2005 Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Dialogue Between Scipio and Berganza, Dogs of the Hospital of the Resurrection in the City of Valladolid, Commonly Called the Dogs of Mahudes. , available at web retrieved 11. 11. 2005 Peter N. Dunn, Cervantes and the Shape of Experience, Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America, available at web retrieved 11. 11. 2005
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