Splitting Hairs or Finding Threads: The Labyrinth as Metaphor for Moral Dilemma in the Comedia Chapter uri icon


  • The word “labyrinth” (laberinto) occurs 341 times in 204 different comedias and autos sacramentales written by such authors as Calderón de la Barca, Guillén de Castro, Miguel de Cervantes, Juan Bautista Diamante, Juan de Matos Fragoso, Agustín Moreto, Juan Pérez de Montalbán, Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla, Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, Tirso de Molina, Lope de Vega, and Antonio Zamora. In some of these plays the word is central to the play’s concept, such as in Lope de Vega’s El laberinto de Creta (1621) or Calderón’s El laberinto del mundo (1717), while in other works (like Cervantes’s El laberinto de amor [1615]), it appears to be more tangential to the comedia’s overarching theme. In almost all cases, however, the presence of this word signals some sort of moral dilemma or ethical quagmire which the characters involved must somehow find their way out of. This essay will make its listeners more attuned to casuistical discourse in the comedias, while at the same time heightening awareness of the interplay of classical and Christian motifs. The resulting synthesis will be demonstrated to fit within established paradigms of Christian Humanism in the Renaissance and Baroque periods in Spain

author list (cited authors)

  • Kallendorf, H.

editor list (cited editors)

  • Poza, S. L., Sueiro, N. P., de la Campa, M., Cuenca, I. P., Byrne, S., & Vidorreta, A.

Book Title

  • Docta y sabia Atenea. Studia in honorem Lía Schwartz

publication date

  • January 1, 2019 11:11 AM