The positive image of the Jew in the Comedia
I will argue in this thesis that in the comedia the Jew was often but covertly portrayed with sympathy. In the Introduction some complex terms of reference, such as 'Jew', will be clarified. Chapter 1 describes the development, from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries, of the converso perspective, characterized by a critical attitude to the ruling ideology, based on individualism, heterodoxy and double language. This chapter also describes how the ideas of Christian Humanism were incorporated into the already existing, if limited, converso perspective to form part of the more ample intellectual equipment of Golden-Age dramatists. Chapter 2 deals with' a form of subversive irony, as an expression of the converso perspective, which appears first in the double language of La Celestina; this is later enriched by incorporating Erasmian dissimulatio, theorized as 'enganar con la verdad' in the Arte nuevo de hacer comedias and put in practice in Lope's comedias. It is this technique that will facilitate the presentation, albeit covertly, of a positive image of the Jew, Chapter 3 contains the theory of transposition as a form of engano in comedias de honra and the first appearance in these comedias of the positive image of the Jew. Chapter 4 traces the transposition of the 'bad' converso into the 'good' biblical Jew. Chapter 5 presents the positive image of the Jew created by mocking his stereotypical negative image. The last chapter contains a discussion of six comedias by Lope that present positive images of the Jew in their converso protagonists; as some of these characters in many ways resemble Lope, for example in their problems with limpieza de sangre, this chapter begins with a discussion of Lope's origin. In all the foregoing I have tried to demonstrate that, contrary to general critical opinion, the Jew in the comedia was often delineated with sympathy.