Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681)
Secret Vengeance for Secret Insult /A Secreto agravio, secreta venganza
Scene: Lisbon, and near Gallician village
Cast (8 male, 2 female)
Berganza, Duke of noble; Portuguese
D. Bernardino de Almeida noble; Portuguese; old; uncle of D. Lope
Celio servant of D. Luis
D. Juan de Silva gentleman; Portuguese; friend of D. Lope
Da. Leonor de Mendoza noble lady; Castilian; wife of D. Lope
D. Lope de Almeida noble; Portuguese
D. Luis de Benavides noble; Castilian
Manrique servant of D. Lope; comic; Portuguese
D. Sebastián noble (king of Portugal); Portuguese
Sirena servant of Da. Leonor
Boatman, soldiers  
Act I:
Going to meet Da. Leonor, whom he has married by proxy, D. Lope de Almeida first meets an old friend and fellow-warrior, D. Juan de Silva, who has fled from Goa after killing the governor's son in a duel. Offering his help, Lope sends Manrique, a servant, to meet Leonor, who complains to her maid, Sirena, that she cannot forget D. Luis de Benavides, believed dead. He suddenly appears, however, pretending to be a jewel merchant, and Leonor is even more upset over her loveless marriage. As she leaves with Lope and the latter's uncle, D. Bernardino, Luis reflects that he may as well die for love as from jealousy, and plans to see her again.
Act II:
Seeing almost every available man leave Lisbon to fight under King Sebastián, Lope is distressed, wondering if he should do likewise. Leonor tells him to do whatever his honor dictates, though she will miss him if he goes; but Juan says to stay at home, for he has done his share in other campaigns. He now worries even more, wishing that the counsels had been reversed: was Leonor's permission given too easily, and was Juan warning him to look to his honor? Sent by Leonor to urge Luis to return to Castilla, Sirena instead brings a note from him, and the assurance that he will go if he can talk to Leonor once more. After reading the note, she has Sirena admit him, but when the women leave the darkened room after the interview, he becomes confused, and is nearly caught by Juan, who calls for Lope's help. Later, Lope finds Luis, who claims to have entered to escape three armed men who attacked him. Lope shows him out, and joins Juan in another search of the house, while Leonor and Sirena are relieved at the narrow escape.
Act III:
Juan, having finally noticed certain things, wonders if he should hint at Lope's dishonor, and finally cites an imaginary case. Lope is reminded of his own suspicions, and goes to the King to offer his services against the Moors. When the King, meaning only that Lope is newly married, tells him that he may be needed more at home, he wonders if the King meant anything else, or if his dishonor is known even at the court. On leaving, he finds Juan fighting several soldiers who recalled his experiences in Goa; and Juan speaks of the folly of making one's injuries known by the means of one's revenge. Pondering this, Lope decides to take revenge secretly, and he hires a boatman to take him to his estate. While waiting, he sees Luis, whom he invites to join him. He then casts off without the boatman, kills Luis en route, and sets the boat adrift. He wades ashore at home, where Leonor faints on hearing that Luis had drowned (actually, of course, Lope has stabbed him). That night, he sets fire to the house, and kills Leonor as it burns. As he carries the body out, he meets the King, and represents the death as an accident. He then asks again to serve the King, whom Juan later tells what really happened.











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