Pedro Calderón de la Barca: La vida es sueño

(2340 words)

Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681) is, alongside Lope de Vega (1562-1635), Spain’s most important classical playwright. The exact date of composition of La vida es sueño, often referred to as the “Spanish Hamlet”, remains subject to speculation, but we do know that the best-known of all comedias emerged during the first decade of Calderón’s writing career. Set in a fictional Polish court, the maturity of this philosophically dense meditation on human nature and the limits of free will belies the playwright’s relatively young age.

As J.E. Varey notes, although there are more modern editions of English than Spanish Early Modern plays, the reverse is true in terms of original manuscripts (1990: 100). T…

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Wheeler, Duncan . "La vida es sueño". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 August 2011
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]