Life Is a Dream by Pedro Calderon De La Barca
Analyzes Spaniard’s 17th Cent. philosophical drama. Illusion vs. reality, history, astrology, free will, symbolism.
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One of the philosophical plays of Calderon de la Barca is Life Is a Dream, a play that mixes several different themes in a complex fashion shaped around the basic plot and interaction of the characters. Calderon expresses these themes in terms of imagery evoked either by the words of the characters or by the staging of the play itself. The essential conflict in the play is political how can a ruler know that his successor is worthy and what can he do to assure a continuity of rule that will be of benefit to the kingdom? Patterns of imagery in the play contribute to this theme and to the other themes of import in the play/*free will versus determinism, issues of deception, and the underlying concept that life is a dream. The basic contrast in the play that serves these different themes is that between…