Dueling Dons

On April 4, 2014 by Harper

Don Juan was known across the land for his so-called “Spanish Arrogance”, as well as the way that he defiled the sacred virtues of noble women.  Naturally, his indiscretions did not go unnoticed by his peers.  On page 208 of the play we see one major character, Octavio, become so upset with Don Juan’s seductive ways that he makes known to the King his desires to kill Don Juan in a duel.  Dueling certainly was a common practice in medieval Spain and was considered an efficient way for two noble Dons to settle serious (and often trivial) disputes.  Fortunately for Don Juan, the ruiner of reputations, the King calms Octavio down because the more he hears about Don Juan’s indiscretions, the more problems he must fix in the future.

The most dramatic duel in “The Trickster of Seville” could arguably be labeled as the climax, and occurs when the ghost of Don Gonzalo (whom Don Juan has murdered earlier in the play) in the form of a statue confronts Don Juan in the gloomy church chapel.  Though Don Juan was spared with his duel with Octavio, he was ultimately unable to escape from Don Gonzalo’s dungeon-like chapel with his life in tact.  Since Don Juan’s sword skill is noted in the beginning of the play, it seems believable that the way he would lose his life would be supernatural and otherworldly in nature, that is, being burned alive by touching the hand of the ghost Don Gonzalo.dg