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Marcela, the young woman as a neo-stoic philosopher in part I of Don Quijote.

Readers of Part I of Don Quijote wade through a series of seven interpolated tales that add variety to the novel, but are mostly extraneous to the plot. One of those tales is the story of Marcela, the young shepherdess who is accused of being the cause of Grisostomo's death, because of her disdain.

The characterization of Marcela is extraordinary. She is completely independent from men at a time when women were commonly regarded as their intellectual inferiors and were remanded to their care. What is more, she becomes the teacher of men, something women were not supposed to do. The purpose of this paper is to argue that Marcela does what she does because she incarnates Neo-Stoic attitudes.

Marcela, the Teacher of Men

The noun desengano and verbs desenganar o desenganarse appear twenty-two times in Part I. (1) Of these, nine are to be found within the Marcela episode, and seven of them are located within Marcela's final speech or very near it. Only one critic takes into account this concentration, saying that in the story "the only remedy for both [Don Quijote and Grisostomo] is desengano and in both cases desengano implies death" (Sieber 185). The remark is problematic insofar as Don Quijote does not face death at the end of Part I; therefore, it applies literally to Grisostomo, and at best, metaphorically to Don Quijote. Also, it oversimplifies the meaning of desengano because it implies more than death. (2)

Marcela is trying to defend herself from the accusations of those who are present. (3) However, her aim is not only to argue that she is innocent, but also to produce desengano, saying that "este general desengano sirva a cada uno de los que me soli citan de su particular provecho, y entiendase de aqui adelante que si alguno por mi muriere, no muere de celoso ni desdichado, porque quien a nadie quiere, a ninguno debe dar celos; que los desenganos no se han de tomar en cuenta de desdenes" (143). This aim seems to be the more important of the two.

Before Marcela leaves she explains to her detractors that if they remain unconvinced, then they should leave her alone: "El que me llama fiera y basilisco, dejeme como cosa perjudicial y mala; el que me llama ingrata, no me sirva; el que desconocida, no me conozca; quien cruel, no me siga; que esta fiera, este basilisco, esta ingrata, esta cruel y esta desconocida, ni los buscara, servira, conocera ni seguira en ninguna manera" (143); therefore, while her words may not totally prove her innocence, they are effective if her goal is to be left alone by those who still think that she is guilty. She leaves "sin querer oir respuesta" (144) because she feels no obligation to listen to those unable of "aprovecharse del manifiesto desengano que habian oido;" consequently her best course of action is to go to "lo mas cerrado de un monte" (144).

Marcela wants to produce desengano by showing that the guilty party is Grisostomo and not her, and if her arguments are not successful (because her discretion and natural beauty distract some of the people present), then she wants to be left alone by those that remain enganados. This way of looking at her speech differs markedly from the way it is commonly understood: instead of thinking of her words as a defense against an accusation of guilt, this paper judges it as her attempt to teach men the necessity of desengano to obtain happiness. (4)

It is important to note that she seeks solitude only after she has spoken; therefore, when she leaves "sin querer oir respuesta" (144) her goal has been accomplished, she has no obligation to listen to those unable of "aprovecharse del manifiesto desengano que habian oido," and consequently her best course of action is to go to "lo mas cerrado de un monte" (144).

Such an interpretation of Marcela's speech is consistent with the way in which desengano functions: She has tried to free the enganados from believing falsehoods. She wants them to understand what happened to Grisostomo because that truth should produce desengano in them. She begins her speech by stating that those who find her guilty are unreasonable--or thinking outside of the realm of reason ("vengo ... a dar a entender cuan fuera de razon van todos aquellos que de sus penas y de la muerte de Grisostomo me culpan," 141)--and specifies that her goal is directly related to promoting truth ("ruego a todos los que aqui estais me esteis atentos, que no sera menester mucho tiempo ni gastar muchas palabras para persuadir una verdad a los discretos." 141).

There are two other factors that lend additional support to this reading. First, Roberto Ruiz has identified nine narrative voices in the text describing different versions of the same event (1997); the differences among those versions shows how easy it is to believe falsehoods. Only one of those voices, Marcela's, will explain what really happened because according to the narrator it is a "manifiesto desengano" (144). (5) Second, Martha Garcia has shown that the episode is presented as if it were a trial to ascertain truth (2004). Her conclusion is consistent with desengano: given that the goal is to avoid believing the falsehoods that prevent us from obtaining happiness, it is fitting that the entire episode should be constructed as a trial with the objective of demonstrating that one either learns to control the strong passions by way of desengano, or death will ensue.

The Neo-stoic Qualifications of Marcela

Traditionally, the moral aspect of Stoicism has been approached from two interrelated and yet distinct perspectives: individual ethics (what must be done by the individual to improve his or her soul) and social ethics (what must be done by the individual to improve the souls of others). In Marcela's case this distinction is never considered, at least not explicitly; therefore, before we proceed, it might be useful if some words are said about the distinction itself.

The basis of all Stoic ethics is the control of the passions, which is obtained when the agent conforms to the laws of the cosmos. This principle is normally captured by the famous Stoic maxim: "live according to nature" (Copleston 1985, 395). When the agent is able to keep his passions under the control of reason he obtains the right kind of character. This is important to the Stoic because the right kind of character insures that the agent will have all of the virtues: "The Stoics in general adhered to the principle that the Virtues are indissolubly connected as expressions of one and the same character, so that the presence of one virtue implies the presence of all" (Copleston 397).

The foundation of Stoic individual ethics is a modified version of the Cynic philosophy. According to tradition Diogenes lived like a dog, dressed in rags, lived in complete poverty, and did not write. Supposedly, Plato said of him that he was a "Socratic gone mad" (Long 408). And yet, because of how he lived, he provided an incorruptible example of how to be moral according to a valid understanding of virtue ethics. The Stoics modified Diogenes's teachings to suit their need. They valued his "deliberate flouting of the conventions and traditions of civilized society" (Copleston 395) and tried to discover as much as they could about the order of the cosmos (nature). Then, based on that information, they devised a plan for the betterment of the soul.

A human must discover what is essential to the soul and worry about that only. Anything else is considered superfluous; although Stoic and Cynic shared a belief that much in society is superfluous (such as honor and riches), unlike Cynics, Stoic did not carry the rejection of society's traditions to an extreme (they were not "Socratics gone mad" and they did not live like dogs).

The nature of the soul provides the foundation for Stoic individual ethics. This principle is also the foundation for their social ethics. According to the Stoic all human souls partake of the divine fire, and this has far-reaching consequences when it comes to the obligations one has towards another.

Not only does the Stoic has to take care of his own soul (individual ethics), but he must also take care of the soul of others (social ethics), because all souls are equally divine; furthermore, the Stoic does not expect any reward from them, such as honors, because those rewards are not essential to the soul's well-being, and are therefore considered distractions. It is little wonder, then, that Quevedo, who knew Stoicism so well, despaired of ever becoming a good Stoic.

Keeping the distinction between individual and social ethics in mind, it becomes clear that Marcela is taking care of her soul, while Grisostomo is not. Even before she delivers her final speech, we have enough information about Grisostomo to conclude that his soul is not as it should be when he meets Marcela. Before that meeting, he is described as someone who studied in Salamanca many years and became a "famoso estudiante," "sabio y muy leido," rich, from a good family and the writer of "villancicos y los autos para el dia del Senor" (120-1). But when he meets Marcela he loses control of his passions, and this is the cause of his death according to Pedro: "Despues se vino a entender que el haberse mudado de traje no habia sido por otra cosa que por andarse por estos despoblados en pos de aquella pastora Marcela que nuestro zagal nombro denantes, de la cual se habia enamorado el pobre difunto de Grisostomo" (122). On the other hand, the text indicates that satisfying Grisostomo's desires would harm her soul: "Si yo le entretuviera, fuera falsa; si le contentara, hiciera contra mi mejor intencion y prosupuesto" (143).

There is another indicator that Marcela should be seen as a Stoic in the area of individual ethics. According to Stoicism a person must cultivate a central virtue. In Marcela's case, she chooses to pursue honor. The strong connection between a woman's honra and her purity of body and character during the Golden Age makes Marcela's choice consistent with the times; furthermore, her insistence in keeping her honra is connected with the Stoic's understanding of justice.

As Harry Levin points out, "the Stoic Aratus in his Phenomena explains that the maiden goddess of justice, Dike [Astraea], who absented herself from the golden world now appears in heaven as the constellation Virgo, thus combining chastity and justice" (14). Both Dike/Astraea and Marcela are solitary and chaste; therefore, the myth strongly suggests that any woman who is chaste and solitary is also just because she resembles the goddess of justice. (6)

As Marcela declares "yo naci libre, y para poder vivir libre escogi la soledad de los campos: los arboles destas montanas son mi compania; las claras aguas destos arroyos mis espejos; con los arboles y con las aguas comunico mis pensamientos y hermosura" (142). Feminist critics frequently comment on Marcela's quest for freedom. For example, Yvonne Jehenson states that "Marcela rejects the entire pastoral convention asserting her freedom to choose as she pleases" (462), and then, asserts that "through Marcela, Cervantes dis-orders his narrative thereby calling attention to the heterogeneity implicit in literary discourses which dare to comment on class and gender issues" (464). (7) However, her strength of character and pursuit of freedom can be explained by the Stoic ethical principles that are its foundation, and which are compatible with feminist readings of the text.

The problem with Marcela's actions are explainable by Stoic social ethics. The textual evidence shows that initially she may be taking care of her soul excessively, to the point that she is unable to take care of the souls of others. More specifically, she is called "endiablada" (120), a "rapaza" (122), "desagradecida" (124), "homicida" (126), "cruel, y un poco arrogante, y un mucho desdenosa" (140-1), a "basilisco" (141), a "nero" (141) and the ingrate daughter of "Tarquino" (141). This seemingly excessive control may be behind her refusal to marry, even when the proposal is "justa y santa" (124) in Pedro's view.

Based on the textual evidence mentioned, other critics have advanced the view that Marcela does not fulfill her social responsibilities. Alban K. Fordone concludes that even though Marcela has some Stoic traits such as "complete detachment," she cannot be considered a stoic because "her excessive narcissism ... presupposes the literal annihilation of much of the human world" (57).

I have chosen Forcione's views to exemplify a negative interpretation of Marcela's social ethics because he voices his criticism in the context of Stoicism; (8) furthermore, he states clearly where the problem lies: even though Marcela appears to be a Stoic, she is unable to carry out her social Stoic duties because she is too narcissistic and lacks "any feeling for the other in the presence of the victim" (57).

Forcione's negative opinion of Marcela's character seems reasonable because it is well supported by textual evidence. However, there is one aspect of the episode that does not support his view: if Marcela does not care about others, then there is no reason for her to go to the funeral in the first place. If she wants to be left alone and is already convinced that she is not guilty, then there is no motive for her to appear at it. If, on the other hand, she attends the funeral to convince others to leave her alone or meet Grisostomo's fate, then she must care about them to some extent, precisely because she does not want them to die. If, as Ambrosio says, she goes there to gloat--"a ufanarte" (141) -, then this seems to be inconsistent with her speech, which tells Ambrosio that she does not go there to gloat (141).

Forcione's declaration that Marcela's goal is to announce "her success in attaining a condition of complete detachment which might recall the Stoic ethical ideal" (57) stumbles on the fact that announcing one's success in "being completely detached" is not consistent with the Stoic ideal of "being completely detached." If, however, her success is only apparent (and consequently she is not really a Stoic, as Forcione says), then her insistence on producing desengano in her audience cannot be explained in full. Finally, if we say that she goes there to tell the audience to leave her alone because she prefers not to be bothered, then the initial question reappears: she has no reason to go to the funeral because the best way to not to be bothered is by not going in the first place; furthermore, a second difficulty emerges: if she does not want to be bothered then we still cannot explain why she insists on producing desengano.

In my view, the explanation of why she appears is straight-forward: her main goal is to teach a valuable lesson by producing desengano in all men present, which means that she must care about them, because she wants to improve their souls. According to the social component of Stoicism the basic obligation towards others is to take care of their souls or spiritual well-being, which is not the same as satisfying their desires. Producing desengano is the first step in a road that leads to improvement. It is therefore consistent with the text to say that Marcela is not only taking care of her soul (individual Stoic ethics) when she rejects the advances of all passionate suitors, but that she is also fulfilling her social Stoic obligation by trying to produce desengano in them so that they will learn the importance of controlling their passions.

It should be noted that I do not say that Marcela's critics are wrong, or at least not completely wrong. Her control of the passions is so absolute, her commitment to freedom is so unwavering, that if we judge her by normal human standards, then it is reasonable to conclude that she is insensitive to the human condition. The text itself provides strong support for this view; however, I do not think that we can judge Marcela's character using normal standards of morality: if she were a normal young woman during the Golden Age, then she would not be qualified to be the teacher of men, and therefore she could not produce desengano in them.

In order to assess Marcela's character in the area of social ethics we need to keep in mind the way in which Stoic doctrine is portrayed in the literature of the period. It then will become clear that an absolute control of the passions (love, hate, desire, etc.) is normal in the Stoic. For example, Valisero in Quevedo's Como ha de ser el Privado is too perfect to be normal: he is capable of conducting business as usual even though he has just received the news that his only son has died; furthermore, the Privado controls his emotions without expecting any reward from the King. (9) The same applies to Segismundo in Calderon's La vida es sueno, who according to the overwhelming majority of critics is the best example of the Stoic prince: even though he goes through an extreme manipulation concocted by his father over many years, he is able to forgive his father as if nothing had happened. Marcela, therefore, conforms to the fictional portrayal of Stoicism. She, like Valisero and Segismundo, is in total control of her emotions.

To sum up, the negative thesis about Marcela's character is reasonable, but it needs to be modified to do justice to the fictional representation of Stoic doctrine. If we do, our opinion of Marcela changes drastically: instead of appearing insensitive and incapable of taking care of the needs of others, we realize that she is helping them as a Stoic should. We also realize that she is qualified to produce desengano in men precisely because her control of the passions is without question, and therefore men have to listen.

Once we envision Marcela as a Stoic, then Forcione's harsh criticism becomes invalid. Her actions can be explained as consistent with Stoic doctrine. For Forcione, Marcela is not a Stoic because "she contemplates herself in the mirror of the streams [which indicates her narcissism]", and also because "her abrupt flight and disappearance into the wilderness" entails "the literal annihilation of much of the human world" (57). What Forcione says is true if we judge Marcela by normal human standards; however, since ancient times there has been a strong connection between nature and the divine. This connection is an essential component of Stoicism, which considers that the basic duty of the Stoic is to conform to the laws of the cosmos, to live according to nature, which is divine. (10) In Marcela's case this connection to nature is made explicit in at least two occasions. She is clean, because she lives surrounded by trees--"Si yo conservo mi limpieza con la compania de los arboles, por que ha de querer que la pierda el que quiere que la tenga con los hombres?," (143) -. And nature is seen as a springboard to her contemplation of the Divine "Tienen mis deseos por termino estas montanas, y si de aqui salen, es a contemplar la hermosura del cielo, pasos con que camina el alma a su morada primera," (144)--. In other words, the first "steps" the soul takes in the journey to join God begin in nature ("las montanas").

Her use of the clear waters as her mirrors can be interpreted as a sign that her soul is either perfect (reflected by nature), or that she is trying to improve her soul. At the same time, her flight into the wilderness according to her own words is an indication that she wants to be closer to God. Therefore, she is not narcissistic or insensitive, but rather, she is doing exactly what she is supposed to do: first, she fulfills her social Stoic duties by way of desengano, and then she leaves to improve her soul and come closer to God.

Finally, Marcela's adherence to Stoic social ethics is confirmed when we keep in mind the strong influence of Cynic philosophy on the Stoic tradition: according to the Cynic, society is harmful and as such it ought to be rejected. The difference is that in Stoicism the rejection is not total. Marcela's behavior is therefore consistent with her heritage: she rejects much of society, because she sees it as a distraction, but at the same time her rejection is not carried too far because she seeks the company of others even when she is in nature: "La conversacion honesta de las zagalas destas aldeas y el cuidado de mis cabras me entretiene" (144). She is even social and patient enough to listen to men for as long as they keep their passions in check, even though there is no indication that she is interested in what they have to say. It is only when they are ruled by their passions that she returns to her solitude. This is explained by Pedro when he says "puesto que no huye ni se esquiva de la compania y conversacion de los pastores [that is, her suitors], y los trata cortes y amigablemente, en llegando a descubrirle su intencion cualquiera dellos, aunque sea tan justa y santa como la del matrimonio, los arroja de si como con un trabuco" (124); furthermore, before she leaves their company, she always tries to produce desengano in them, which means that she is doing her Stoic social duty on every occasion and not just in her final speech: "A los que he enamorado con la vista he desenganado con las palabras; y si los deseos se sustentan con esperanzas, no habiendo yo dado alguna a Grisostomo, ni a otro alguno, en fin, de ninguno dellos, bien se puede decir que antes le mato su porfia que mi crueldad" (142-3).

Why should anyone be morally obligated to listen to a frustrated lover for as long the lover wants to? This requirement seems wrong from the perspective of any popular moral theory. Marcela's actions seem well justified from a reasonable moral stand point: first, she is qualified to be the teacher of men because she follows Stoic doctrine (individual Stoic ethics), then she teaches men the error of their ways using desengano (Stoic social ethics). At the same time, men listen to her because they recognize that a Stoic, even a young woman, is a qualified teacher; and finally, after she has tried to help every time, she has no reason to stay, and therefore she leaves them to continue her contemplation of God in the solitude of nature.

It would be surprising if the text portrayed religious doctrine in a way that would detract from Marcela's Stoic exemplarity. What we should expect is just the opposite: if Marcela is a Stoic, then the way in which religion is portrayed within the text should support her Stoic character; however, Marcela is also a young woman; therefore, it is not surprising that the text shows ambiguities in Marcela's characterization.

Some critics have taken the extreme position that Marcela's refusal to marry is an attack against religion or religious institutions. For example, Kevin S. Larsen holds that Marcela does not want to "cumplir con la amonestacion atribuida a Dios en 3:16" (2005, 274), and salvatore Poeta concludes that "by placing her entire devotion in pastoral love of nature at the absolute exclusion of human love and its divine mission of procreation through the sacrament of marriage, she is, in effect, explicitly rejecting God's law and spiritual salvation through divine grace" (2004, 263). A close reading of the text reveals that such a strong anti-religious view is problematic. According to her words, her refusal to marry is not categorical, but contingent on God's will: "El cielo aun hasta ahora no ha querido que yo ame por destino, y el pensar que tengo que amar por eleccion es excusado" (143). In other words, her decision does not seem to be an attack on doctrine, but rather, it is grounded on a Stoic refusal to succumb to passions. She will not marry just because others love her (this is one of the basic messages of her speech), but she will marry if it is God's will.

It is therefore an oversimplification to maintain that the text portrays religion in a way that does not support Marcela's choices and character. Marcela's uncle is a priest and an exemplary man who "aunque quisiera casarla luego, asi como la via de edad, no quiso hacerlo sin su consentimiento, sin tener ojo a la ganancia y granjeria que le ofrecia el tener la hacienda de la moza dilatando su casamiento" (123). Her decission not to marry (to any passionate suitor) is therefore supported by him: "Con estas [razones] que daba [Marcela], al parecer justas excusas, dejaba el tio de importunarla, y esperaba a que entrase algo mas en edad y ella supiese escoger compania a su gusto. Porque decia el, y decia muy bien, que no habian de dar los padres a sus hijos estado contra su voluntad" (123-4).

As Marcela's guardian he should not let her live unprotected and unsupervised in the middle of the woods. But amazingly, that is precisely what he does: he never goes to the woods to command her to return to her home; and even though he does not say it openly, he must think that what she is doing is not wrong.

When we consider everything said so far, it seems that the best way to do justice to Marcela is to maintain this religious ambiguity as an essential element of the interpretation of her character. In a very real sense, the text reveals the inequalities of power between the genders at the time. If Marcela were a man, then she would not be expected to marry, but because she is a woman, the text shows her to be an exception to the rule. She is extraordinary, because she is what she is not supposed to be.

Why did cervantes choose a woman and not a man so that this disagreement with religious doctrine could have been avoided? There are a number of possible reasons: from a narrative point of view perhaps he chose a woman because he thought that the story would be more interesting if its main character was an intelligent, independent young woman; from a socio-political perspective, he may have been responding to Antonio de Guevara's thesis that woman, even when as intelligent and as capable of learning as a man, should stay at home, marry, procreate and educate their children. (11) Cervantes's response is to create a female character that is at the same time independent from men and their teacher. But whatever the reason, one thing does not change: Marcela is a young woman who lives in accordance with Neo-Stoic principles. (12)


(1) The word desengano appears as follows in Part I: one time in the prologue and in chapters 6, 9, 13, 16 and 39; two times in chapters 12, 18 and 36; four times in Chapter 34 and six times in Chapter 14. The word has strong Stoic connotations during the Golden Age: a person is desenganado when he or she no longer believes the falsehoods that make impossible a happy life. If, for instance, one believes that love, honor or riches are necessary for happiness, but then realizes that they are unimportant distractions, one would be desenganado.

(2) For the sake of completeness it is necessary to point out that the concept desengano seems to have two main uses during the Golden Age: empirical and ethical. It is being used empirically when the agent claims that something that was considered to be true is now considered to be false ("I am no longer wrong", basically). The ethical use includes a direct relation with the production of a happy life; in other words, desengano is used ethically when the agent claims that a falsehood needs to be abandoned because it is causing harm to the soul. It should be clear that Marcela's use of desengano is ethical because it is directly associated with the harm caused by the passions.

(3) The overwhelming majority of critics conceive Marcela's speech as her attempt to defend herself from the accusation that she caused Grisostomo's death. However, the critics do not agree about Marcela's success. On the one hand, the following critics think that her speech is an effective defense, in different ways and to various degrees: Lee-Ann Laffey: "Marcela's speech is precise and rational, and follows the best oratorical traditions of Western culture ... She destroys the image and life that the her male suitors 'wrote' for her" (552); Roberto Ruiz: "Marcela, quien no solo explica y aclara su conducta, sino que cuenta las cosas como ella las vio" (68); Ivonne Jehenson: "What Marcela has done is to take the intellectual tools of patriarchy, used them to her cause, and turned them against their inventors (Cervantes, 1990, 35). And this with "Cervantes' approval" (23); Carolyn A. Nadeau summarizes Mary MacKey's position as follows: "Marcela's speech is grounded in facts, uses rhetorical questions to keep in touch with her audience, defends herself with a wide variety of arguments and proves that her conduct is in harmony with an ideal justice" (56). On the other hand, the following critics think that her defense fails in some sense or another: Emilia Navarro writes that "the story ends with the audience's erasure of her words, and with Marcela walking out into the forest on her own and away from the narrative space of the text only underlines, once again, the confines into which genre and gender conspire to constrain" (9). Elvira Macht de Vera quotes Diego Clemencin as follows: "El sermon de Marcela es impertinente, afectado, ridiculo y todo que se quiera ..." (7). The failure is also implied in Jaime Fernandez's discussion: "a pesar de haber sabido que su forma de entender y vivir la libertad ... ha causado una dolorosa tragedia, esto no hace en ella el menor efecto ni siquiera le invita a la mas minima reflexion" (154), and in Alban Forcione's negative view of the end of the episode: "the uncompromising character of her simplification of needs, a self-reduction to a pure identity which presupposes the literal annihilation of much of the human world around her, her lack of any feeling for the other in the presence of the victim, and of course, her abrupt flight and disappearance into the wilderness" (57). Thomas R. Hart and Steven Rendall also think that her speech is unsuccessful: "There is at least one important reason for thinking Marcela's speech as ineffective ... : it fails to persuade her accusers that she bears no responsibility for Grisostomo's death. At the conclusion of her speech, Marcela withdraws into the woods, and several of the shepherds "sin aprovecharse del manifiesto desengano que habian oido" (p. 132), start to pursue her"(287-8). Finally, even though the question of the perceived force of her speech dominates the discussions, this does not mean that all critics focus on the issue: for example, Charles W. Steele concludes instead that the entire episode is a parody which "places [it] in accord with the ambivalent, relativistic Cervantine humor that we are accustomed to identify with Don Quijote's adventures" (16).

(4) One of the most important duties of the Stoic towards others is to try to make them understand the importance of the control of the passions to obtain a happy life. This is especially difficult when the passion in question is love because it is considered to be a sickness of the soul. For example, in his speech with the goat herders, Don Quijote describes love as a pestilence "con el celo de la maldita solicitud les entra la amorosa pestilencia y les hace dar con todo su recogimiento al traste" (114). It is important to keep in mind that the Stoic can only try to make others understand that they are sick with love. In other words, the actual cure does not depend on the Stoic, but on the person who is sick; therefore, even though Marcela's attempt to produce desengano seems to make some of her suitors desperate, their desperation does not indicate that she is not carrying out her Stoic duty: whether or not they can benefit from her words is up to them.

(5) In addition to the voice of the narrator, Don Quijote's decision to defend Marcela at the end of the episode also shows that Marcela is speaking the truth: "Ella ha mostrado con claras y suficientes razones la poca o ninguna culpa que ha tenido en la muerte de Grisostomo, y cuan ajena vive de condescender con los deseos de ninguno de sus amantes" (144). Even though Don Quijote's opinion is not usually an indication of truth in the novel (for example, he is convinced that the windmills are giants), in this case it is reasonable to conclude that his opinion is accurate because it is not grounded on the information contained in the Romances of Chivalry, but on the simple fact that Marcela's arguments convinced him; therefore, I disagree with Michael D. McGaha's conclusion that "even he [Don Quijote] cannot totally exempt her from guilt" (67). I disagree because according to my interpretation Marcela's main aim is not to prove her innocence per se, but to produce desengano; therefore, to the extent that Don Quijote has been desenganado about the falsehoods contained in the episode, his decision to defend her is consistent with that desengano.

(6) The connection made by Harry Levin regarding Stoicism, Marcela, chastity and justice is made even stronger when we consider the work of Carolyn A. Nadeau (1995). Her article shows in detail that Marcela personifies justice because of her strong similarities with the Goddess Astraea.

(7) Feminist opinions about Marcela's quest for freedom abound. In addition to the article mentioned in the main body of the text, Yvonne Jehenson writes a second essay that is openly feminist ("la investigacion procede de tres premisas feministas" (Romance Language Annual 15), and once again feminism is tied with freedom: "Marcela must plead the cause of the self and she cannot and may not be silent" (16). Lee-Ann Laffrey explains Marcela's position as a "quest for independence and personal freedom [that] asserts a position of individualism" (552), and then, by the end of the essay she concludes that "she embodies the ideals of female liberty" (553). Emilia Navarro states that "she undoes the male ideological edifice which constrains woman to be but the measure of man's desires" (9). A final example of feminist theory in relation with freedom is John P. Gabriele's essay, where it is maintained that "her actions can be interpreted as a quest to establish her feminine narrative self' (510). At the same time, even though the association between Marcela's freedom and feminist themes is common, it is not the only approach. For example, Carolyn A. Nadeau associates it with justice using the mythological Astraea: "Marcela, like Don Quijote, yearns for an age of justice where she can live freely. Consequently, her home is the country and the mountain, the places Astraea lived before living this world" (58).

(8) Jaime Fernandez offers a negative opinion that comes very close to mentioning stoicism: "Por lo que respecta a Marcela, es muy dificil decir de ella que carece de discrecion, al menos de discrecion etica, pues parece tener perfectamente controladas sus pasiones. Pero podria dudarse de su discrecion cognoscitiva. Porque, a pesar de haber sabido que su forma de entender y vivir la libertad (a la que, sin duda alguna, tiene todo derecho) ha causado una dolorosa tragedia, esto no hace en ella el menor efecto ni siquiera la invita a la mas minima reflexion" (154). Michael D. McGaha's view about Marcela's social responsibilities is also negative (68), and at the same time he acknowledges that one of the influences in the episode is Seneca's stoicism (41-3). However, McGaha's negative view about Marcela is not directly and explicitly associated with Stoicism. Other critics that find Marcela's social ethics objectionable without mentioning Stoicism are Javier Herrero, (1978) and Peter N. Dunn (1972).

(9) At the beginning of Quevedo's play two virtues are mentioned by two other candidates to become the new privado: vigilance, and speaking the truth. Then, when the Privado-to-be (Valisero) offers his central virtue, he chooses disinterest because it is the only one needed: "... yo fuera eminente / en ser desinteresado. / Con esta sola virtud / todas las demas tuviera" (594).

(10) For example, Americo Castro (1925), Francisco Perez-Garrote (1979) and Michael D. McGaha (1977) explain the strong connection between nature and the divine in the works of Cervantes.

(11) Antonio the Guevara is mentioned in the prologue of Part I as one of the authors that are known by everybody. At the same time, Asuncion Rallo has shown that according to Antonio de Guevara "la sabiduria femenina (justificada con relatos y anecdotas de la "antiguedad" utopica como habia hecho tambien Fr. Martin de Cordoba) esta en funcion de la necesidad de que la mujer participe y se preocupe activamente por la educacion de los hijos; la finalidad de la cultura de la mujer no es el espacio publico, sino la realizacion privada en la configuracion familiar burguesa ..." (162); therefore, as mentioned in the main body of the text, it is reasonable to conclude that Cervantes may have created Marcela to respond to Guevara's view.

(12) For the sake of completeness I should add that Luis Rosales's vision of Marcela is in some respects similar to my interpretation (1960). The main difference is that his opinion takes into account the individual duties of the Stoic only (without saying so explicitly) (267), and my interpretation covers as well the social duties of the Stoic and how each area relates to the other. Another difference is that Luis Rosales does not consider religion in relation with Neo-Stoicism.


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Daniel Lorca

Oakland University
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