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Via Spiritus : Revista de História da Espiritualidade e do Sentimento Religioso
O bom samaritano vai ao teatro
Maria Idalina Resina Rodrigues
AbstractThis paper is centred on the study of a few dramatic adaptations of the parable of The Good Samaritan by authors from the Iberian Peninsula in the 16th and 17th centuries. They are examined not only, or even mainly, based on a comparison with the Gospel of St. Luke (10: 25-38), but especially taking into consideration certain medieval glosses of the parable. Thus, the paper begins with annotated references to texts by St. Augustine (Questiones evangeliorum, liber secundus), Beda (In Lucam Evangelium expositio) and Walafrid Strabo (Glossa Ordinaria), seeking to distinguish what they have in common (the main body) from that which accidentally, but intentionally, changes. The study then proceeds with a review of the Obra da Geração Humana, a work by an anonymous 16th-century Portuguese writer, who focuses on the parable in two moments: in the introduction, in the form of a play within a play, and in the last part, when the main character, who represents Adam/Human Creation, travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho, is attacked by devils disguised as thieves. He is wounded during the attack and his companions, Justice and Reason, are helpless to assist him. After having asked a Priest and a Levite for their help, he is finally rescued by Christ/a Samaritan, who leads him to the Church/Inn where St. Gregory, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine provide him with assistance. On an identical journey through El Peregrino by José de Valdivielso, only this time involving a more complex plot, there is a similar leading character, having also been rescued by Christ/a Samaritan, although here the Priest and the Levite are not heard. They are mentioned by another, highly relevant character, Truth, who is always present and participant, and comments on the impossibility of their providing assistance to the traveller. The bandits are a spiteful and enraged Luzbel and the personified vices at his service, among which Delight stands out. Now, those in the Church/Inn are St. Peter, St. John the Evangelist and St. James, appropriately remembered as the patron saint of Castile. The words of the parable are repeated in a kind of chanted and rhythmical apotheosis, as was common in the theatre of the time, between songs, a romancillo (ballad) and a few roundels. Finally, in Tu Prójimo como a Tí by Calderón de la Barca, of great poetic wisdom and structuring ability, the parable comes across in several different formulations, varying between a sort of dreamt vision, the dramatically transfigured recapitulation of the Gospel narrative and the placing of the Priest and the Levite as predecessors of Christ/the Samaritan, who is to be found later in the Eucharist. The traveller’s main enemy is now Guilt, reciting intense and exquisite explicative passages from the text of St. Luke itself and, at his command, the World, the Devil, Lust and other figurations of Evil are always available and compliant, in successive and increasingly more complex scenarios. This paper ends with a very brief reference to the significant allegory of the journey/two paths and draws attention to a present-day commentary on the parable which reveals that there is interest in reviving the story in an unfortunately dehumanized period such as ours.
Last Update: 2014-10-01
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