Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Languages, Literatures and Cultures



First Advisor

Maria C Mabrey


This thesis is an examination of three works of the Spanish Golden Age:Peribáñez y el comendador de Ocañaby Lope de Vega,La traición en la amistadby María de Zayas, andLa vida es sueñoby Calderón de la Barca. The focus of this work is on the main female protagonists: Casilda, Fenisa, and Rosaura, respectively. Applying feminist and visualization theories, the thesis examines these women in regards to how they conform to and subvert prevailing stereotypes of the time. The characters are analyzed based on personality, as illustrated through the choices they make; their roles in the microcosm of the play in contrast to their traditional societal roles; and their integrity, as seen through the opinions of other characters. Biographical information about the authors that may have influenced their character development is included, such as Lope de Vega's relationships and each author's educational background. This analysis leads to conclusions about the purpose for which each author intended the specified character.

This study shows an emergence of a new model female, one who is more liberated that previous women, but is still confined to societal expectations. The three works address different social classes and different developmental spaces, but a comparison will show that this new model is presented in each. In subverting the commonly portrayed and accepted stereotypes, the characters embrace the masculine side of their personalities. This bisexual duality is what leads us to conclude that these women are innovative for their time.