Victor Hugo: Ruy Blas (3411 words)

Matthew McMahan (Tufts University)
Download PDF Save to Bookshelf Tweet Report an Error


Other Resources

Victor Hugo’s Ruy Blas (1838) combines the high emotions and suspense of melodrama, the carefully plotted intrigue of the pièce bien faite (well-made play), and the philosophical inquiry of Romanticism. The play mixes comedy, romance, and political critique, all through the humble, low-class hero and would-be nobleman Ruy Blas. Punning with the sounds of the titular character’s name, Hugo combines the word roi for “king”, and bas for “low”, as well as las for “weary”, to indicate the conundrum facing Ruy Blas as an “earthworm in love with a star” (Ruy Blas, l. 798, Hugo, p. 1549). Receiving a lukewarm reception upon its première, the play is now one of the most oft-produced …

Citation: McMahan, Matthew. "Ruy Blas". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 July 2016 [, accessed 22 June 2021.]

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here