Women in Spain

Essay by torborUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, December 2011

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The Role of Women in Maria de Zaya's "Too Late Undeceived"

The role of the female in Spanish society is a topic that has been addressed by historians for many years. Historians have made an effort to build an understanding of why people have certain constructions of genders roles in an effort to eliminate stereotypical representations. Stereotypes are dangerous because it defines a group of people based on a single characteristic, and it hinders one's ability to think differently of that group. In particular, women were thought of as a complement to men, containing no individual power or authority in society. Nevertheless, many of the constructs that were present in the 17th century are still prevalent today. One of the most thoughtful ways we can study time periods is by examining popular literature. Maria de Zayas y Sotomayor was an extremely important literary figure in Spain in the early 1600s.

Her most popular works, which happen to complement each other, are her Novelas Amorosas and Desengaños Amorosos. Desengaños Amorosos is meant to disenchant women by providing true examples of how women have been deceived and wronged by men. Through the deceptions shown in "Too Late Undeceived", Maria de Zayas's writing, laced with feminist overtones, critically examines the inherent flaws of gender stereotypes.

Before looking at the literature of the Golden Age period, it is important to understand some of the dominant ideas and themes that influenced the writings of Zayas. Though Spain was experiencing an economic and political decline, the Golden Age was a time that was characterized by a flourishing of the arts, with the second half of the period being heavily influenced by the Baroque style. Baroque became a way to describe anything that deviated from the established status quo, often being referred to as irregular...