Because of the repercussions of his hubris, don Á lvaro remains inescapably in the position of his birth, in the ‘ calabozo profundo’ of his miserable world. Yet this dictated fate does not carry the same causal traits as the Greek fatalism. Rivas carefully ensures to connect don Á lvaro’ s condition and its causes to the forces of Spanish society, the ‘ Imperio de Occidente, ’ the ‘ Amor y ambició n ardiente’ that engendered him (act 3 scene 3). That is the source, the fountain of all fate – the social system in which Á lvaro was born and which he brashly attempted to defy, which swallows him into a prison of loneliness, violence and death. As the series of fatalistic catalysts move forward in the play, the remaining members of doñ a Leonor’ s family all converge fatefully to the final scenes to arrive at the inevitable result of Don Á lvaro’ s transgression.
Don Alfonso, attempting to defend his family’ s honour by the dictates of Spanish mores, cries out ‘ Eres un mestizo, / fruit de traiciones’ , and in despair don Á lvaro lashes out from his own anguish at his socially disapproved birth, taking his sword and mortally wounding don Alfonso (Rivas 1835, 176, act 5, scene 9).
This act of violence signals the start of the final chain reaction, the final swing of fortune’ s wheel, leading rapidly to the death of both don Alfonso and doñ a Leonor in the last scenes of the play. Thus, because of don Á lvaro’ s violent rage at the incongruity of his past with the Spanish family order, because of the brash defiance of his allotted fate, Á lvaro strikes against the last force maintaining that fatalistic order – doñ a Leonor’ s brother.
In doing so, don Á lvaro enacts the complete destruction of the family into which he was attempting to enter, and in this dissolution don Á lvaro embraces his fate, crying ‘ ¡ Infierno, abre tu Boca y trá game! ’ and throwing himself into the abyss (act 5, scene 11). His fatal flaw has encoded his life within a path of catastrophe from the very beginning, as can be seen in Valero and Zighelboim’ s criticism: ‘ don Á lvaro no só lo Marcha inexorablemente Hacia su autodestrucció n.
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