Calderon spins a metaphysical tale about Segisimund, who is imprisoned by his father, the King, because it is prophesied that Segisimund would become a tyrant.One day the King relents and Segisimund awakens from his nightmare to find himself crown prince.
, 1600–1681, Spanish dramatist, last important figure of the Spanish Golden Age, b. His more than 100 plays were carefully contrived, subtle, and rhetorical.
of Salamanca, he turned from theology to poetry and became a court poet in 1622.
The play begins with a dramatic moment, as Rossaura and her servant, Bugle, happen upon a roughly-built tower in the middle of the Polish wilderness.
Immediately, Rossaura’s pluck is evident; she is a woman dressed as a man, and she recovers from being thrown from her horse quickly, focusing her energies on reaching the mysterious tower.
The king decides to put his son to an unfair test of his nobility and honor, drugging Sigismund in order to transport him secretly to the palace.
When Sigismund wakes, he will be dressed in the garments of royalty, and King Vasily hopes that the prince will act according to his birthright, but designs a contingency plan: should Sigismund act badly and fail the test, he will be returned to his tower prison and told that the whole experience was a dream.
His actions prove the prophesy correct, and he is banished once again, where he convinces himself that everything that has happened to him is but a dream.
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By the end of the play, Sigismund has shown himself to be a truly noble being, one who chooses to behave honorably towards his father, despite having been mistreated and neglected his entire life.
He wrestles with truth and illusion admirably, finally choosing to behave morally no matter if his life exists in reality or in a dream.