Los riesgos y virtudes de la amistad en la cultura del Siglo de Oro
- Author(s): Brophy, Analaura Navarrete
- Advisor(s): Avilés, Luis
- et al.
My research provides in-depth analyses of the meaning and significance of the conceit of amistad perfecta in early modern Spanish literature which inherited the ancient Greco-Roman ideal of friendship between men true, trusting, and trustworthy, unyielding in virtue and constancy, and sharing a higher mutual purpose to benefit not only themselves and each other but also their families, communities, and states. Early modern Spanish texts explore representations of amistad perfecta through characterizations of noble men who, seeking to enforce and profit from their idealized expectations of each other, attain or abandon the virtues they need to achieve victory in their conflicts at Court and in battle. My exploration reveals the ethical complexities, political consequences, personal challenges, and social benefits promised and critiqued in those texts and demonstrates how the motifs of personal integrity and social discretion elevate the conceit as an exemplar of conflict resolution and exclusive path in restoring social harmony. My study first focuses on an interpretive analyses of La próspera fortuna de don Álvaro de Luna and La adversa fortuna de don Álvaro de Luna, paired plays by Antonio Mira de Amescua, which provide models of amistad perfecta between king and favorite. I then analyze the conceit as a motif that tests the ethical complexities of social inequality at Court and the political boundaries of admiration and flattery, deference and honesty. Next, my investigation of amistad perfecta in El curioso impertinente by Miguel de Cervantes reinterprets his representations of temptation and vice as constructions of social and political threats. Then, focusing on La señora Cornelia by Miguel de Cervantes, I analyze amistades perfectas as loci of virtue and cohesion able to restore family honor and rekindle the wellbeing of the community. Lastly, I interpret the significance and discuss the intellectual values of an anonymous work from the era, El Abencerraje, and its portrayal of two enemies whose honesty and integrity leads them to overcome political conflict and war and construct a lasting amistad perfecta that provides for their own redemption and the restoration of general social prosperity.