Tirso de Molina

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Tirso de Molina
Company de Gabriel Téllez (Tirso de Molina) .svg
Tirso de Molina

Tirso de Molina , actually Gabriel Téllez (* 1579 in Madrid , † March 12, 1648 in Almazán , Soria province ) was a famous Spanish playwright .


As for the exact date of birth of Gabriel Téllez, this has not yet been clarified in the scientific literature. For example, after finding a birth certificate in Téllez Girón, Blanca de los Ríos put forward the (no longer tenable) thesis that Tirso was the illegitimate son of the Duke of Osuna , Pedro Téllez-Girón (3rd Duque de Osuna). According to Arellano (1995, p. 329) it is likely that Tirso was born in Madrid in 1579, where he was baptized on March 29th in the parish church of San Sebastián. But you can also find the year 1581, 1584 and others. Almost nothing is known about his childhood. His parents were simple servants of the Conde de Molina de Herrera.

Tirso de Molina entered the order of the Mercedarians in Toledo on November 4, 1600 , and on January 21, 1601 he came to the monastery of San Antolín near Guadalajara . In 1606 he was ordained a priest in Toledo, where he had studied theology and art. After some difficulties with church authorities because of the first theater performances, he retired between 1614 and 1615 to the monastery of Estercuel in Aragon . In 1616 he was sent on a mission to the West Indies , in what is now the Dominican Republic , where he taught theology at the University of Santo Domingo . In 1618 he returned from the trip and then lived in a Mercedarian convent in Madrid. There he took part in the meetings of the Academia poética de Madrid , took part in the then fashionable writing competitions and produced several plays such as El burlador de Sevilla (around 1619) and El Vergonzoso en palacio (1621). Between 1624 and 1633 the five parts ( partes ) of his comedies are also published there.

In 1625 he was therefore warned by the so-called “Junta de Reformación de las Costumbres” (for example: Moral Reform Commission) that it was not permitted for a religious to devote himself to secular subjects in his literary works. He was even threatened with excommunication , and as a punishment he was transferred to Andalusia ( Seville ) and later to Cuenca . In 1626 he was appointed "Comendador" ( prior ) of his order in Trujillo , where he stayed until 1629. One of the fruits of this stay in the hometown of the Pizarro brothers was a trilogy about the conquistadors from Extremadura .

Between 1632 and 1639 he stayed in Madrid. As the official chronicler of his order, he finished the Historia General de la Orden de la Merced there in 1639 , a history of the Mercedarian Order that he had started seven years earlier. Because of new difficulties he was exiled to Cuenca again in 1640; In 1645 he was appointed prior of the Mercedarian monastery in Soria . He probably held this office until the end of his life. He died on March 12, 1648 at the age of over 60.

Meaning and reception

Tirso de Molina is one of the greatest playwrights in Spain , alongside Lope de Vega and Pedro Calderón de la Barca . According to his own statements, his literary work comprised more than 400 sacred ( autos sacramentales ) and secular ( comedias ) pieces, of which only about 80 have survived. Many of them are still part of the repertoire of Spanish and international theaters today (2007) .

His piece El burlador de Sevilla o convidado de piedra ( Eng . "Don Juan or the seducer of Seville and the stone guest") is considered to be the first dramatic adaptation of the Don Juan legend. After this, Molière edited his Don Juan for the French theater.

Monument in Madrid , by Rafael Vela del Castillo , 1943.

One of the first editions of his pieces was published in 1631/36 in five volumes in Madrid. Carl August Dohrn and Karl Moritz Rapp were two of the first to translate Tirso de Molina's work for the German-speaking area .

Poetic concept

Tirso de Molina succeeds Lope de Vega as a representative of his comedia nueva , that is, there is no distinction between comedy and tragedy , the plays do not adhere to the classic three units of time, place and action and the characters involved come from them both the higher and the lower classes. He also allows poetological statements of this kind to flow into his own plays, for example in Los cigarrales de Toledo (1624), Deleitar aprovechando (1635) and El vergonzoso en palacio . Naturalness and originality are key concepts for him. Tirso opposes the classical norm of poetics and claims artistic freedom for himself. Against the concept of the “purity” of literary genres, he objects that even in everyday life the comic and the tragic, the high and the low are mixed up, and so the drama should also adequately reflect reality. Like Lope (and in contrast to Calderón) he did not trust in exaggerated stage effects and machinery, but stuck to the rather simple conditions of the so-called comedia de corral , which could be played in backyards or simple theaters. On the other hand, he attached great importance to scenes in which the actors could shine with their art.

As far as the psychology of the characters in his plays is concerned, it is said that his position as confessor gave him deep insights, especially into the “female soul”. Thus, also in contrast to Calderón, the female figures are drawn in a psychologically believable way, and the concept of the exaggerated Spanish concept of honor ( honra ) plays no or only a subordinate role for him. On the other hand, a tendency towards comedy situations or puns is not uncommon in his works .


Secular dramas

  • La villana de Sagra (1611)
  • El amor médico
  • La celosa de si misma
  • Don Gil de las calzas verdes (written around 1615, published 1635)
  • Marta la piadosa (written around 1615)
  • No hay peor sordo que el que no quiere oir
  • La villana de Vallecas
  • El burlador de Sevilla o convidado de piedra (around 1619)
  • El condenado por desconfiado (1635)
  • Escarmientos para el cuerdo
  • El vergonzoso en palacio (approved 1621, published 1624)
  • Amar por señas
  • La gallega Mari Hernández
  • Por el sótano y el torno
  • Los tres maridos burlados
  • Del enemigo el primer consejo
  • Los cigarrales de Toledo (1624)
  • Celos con celos se curan
  • El castigo del penseque (1613)
  • El melancólico
  • Privar contra su gusto
  • El pretendiente al revés
  • La Peña de Francia
  • El caballero de gracia

Historical dramas

  • Antona García
  • La prudencia en la mujer
  • Pizarro trilogy:
    • Todo es dar en un cosa
    • Amazonas en las Indias
    • La lealtad versus la envidia
  • Las quinas de Portugal
  • Cautela contra cautela
  • El rey don Pedro en Madrid (attributed to Tirso)

Biblical dramas

  • La venganza de Tamar
  • La mejor espigadera
  • La vida y muerte de Herod
  • Tanto es lo de más como lo de menos
  • La mujer que manda en casa

Saints' lives

  • La dama del Olivar
  • La Santa Juana (trilogy, 1613)
  • Santo y sastre
  • Doña Beatriz de Silva
  • Quien no se cae no se levanta

Cars Sacramental

  • El colmenero divino
  • No le arriendo la ganancia
  • Los hermanos parecidos (first performed in Toledo in 1615)
  • El laberinto de Creta
  • La ninfa del cielo
  • La madrina del cielo


  • Historia general de la Orden de nuestra Señora de las Mercedes. (two parts 1636, 1639)

Available editions


  • Obras completas. Cuarta parte de comedias. I, Madrid-Pamplona, ​​Instituto de Estudios Tirsianos, 1999, ISBN 84-923453-4-9 .
  • Obras completas . Cuarta parte de comedias, II, ed. M. Zugasti, Madrid-Pamplona, ​​Instituto de Estudios Tirsianos, 2003, ISBN 84-95494-03-5 .
  • Obras completas. Cars sacramentales. I, Madrid-Pamplona, ​​Instituto de Estudios Tirsianos, 1998, ISBN 84-923453-3-0 .
  • Obras completas. Cars sacramentales. II, Madrid-Pamplona, ​​Instituto de Estudios Tirsianos, 2000, ISBN 84-95494-01-9 .
  • El pretendiente al revés y Del enemigo, el primer consejo. (dos comedias palatinas), ed. E. Galar, Madrid-Pamplona, ​​Instituto de Estudios Tirsianos, 2005, ISBN 84-95494-17-5 .
  • Mari Hernández, la gallega. ed.S. Eiroa, Madrid-Pamplona, ​​Instituto de Estudios Tirsianos, 2003, ISBN 84-95494-08-6 .
  • El mayor desengaño. Quien no cae no se levanta. (dos comedias hagiográficas), ed. L. Escudero, Madrid-Pamplona, ​​Instituto de Estudios Tirsianos, 2004, ISBN 84-95494-15-9 .
  • Las quinas de Portugal. ed.CC García Valdés, Madrid-Pamplona, ​​Instituto de Estudios Tirsianos, 2003, ISBN 84-95494-09-4 .
  • Los tres maridos burlados. ed. I. Arellano, Madrid-Pamplona, ​​Instituto de Estudios Tirsianos, 2001, ISBN 84-95494-04-3 .
  • La villana de la Sagra. ed.A. Hermenegildo, Madrid-Pamplona, ​​Instituto de Estudios Tirsianos, 2005, ISBN 84-95494-16-7 .
  • La villana de Vallecas. ed.S. Eiroa, Madrid-Pamplona, ​​Instituto de Estudios Tirsianos, 2001, ISBN 84-95494-02-7 .


  • Panegírico a la casa de Sástago. (Poema inédito), edición, estudio y notas L. Vázquez, Madrid-Pamplona, ​​Instituto de Estudios Tirsianos, 1998, ISBN 84-923453-1-4 .


  • Ignacio Arellano: Historia del teatro español del siglo XVII. (= Crítica y Estudios Literarios ). Ediciones Cátedra, Madrid 1995, ISBN 84-376-1368-X .
  • Martin Franzbach: History of Spanish Literature at a Glance. (= Universal Library. No. 8861). Reclam, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-15-008861-5 .
  • Hans U. Gumbrecht: A history of Spanish literature. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1998, ISBN 3-518-58062-0 .
  • Hans-Jörg Neuschäfer: Spanish literary history. 2nd Edition. Metzler, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-476-01857-1 .
  • Christoph Strosetzki: History of Spanish Literature. 2., unchanged. Edition. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1996, ISBN 3-484-50307-6 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Downloadable as a print edition from 1973 at http://www.odemih.com/es/biblioteca-virtual/impresos-modernos-1831 (in Spanish)