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The Islamization of Spain in William Rowley and Mary Pix: the politics of nation and gender.

The sustained Muslim presence in Spain between 711 and 1492 provides a fascinating example of intercultural dynamics that has never ceased to engage the imagination of many authors. One episode in particular, the Islamic invasion and conquest of 711, was in its very swiftness so hard to explain that it has puzzled everyone for centuries. Historians nowadays explain it away more as the result of the weakness of the Gothic Christian kingdom than the strength of the invading North Africans. Mostly this weakness appears to have been connected to the ancient elective system of succession, which was challenged by certain parties. (1) Garcia de Cortazar and Gonzalez Vega have described how after the death of King Witiza in 710 his sons did not accept the election of a new king in the person of Roderick, earl of Betica. (2) The "Witizan" faction started negotiations with the North African Muslims for their help against Roderick through a Christian mediator, Julian, governor of the North African town of Ceuta, and in July 711 the Muslim leader Tariq, landing with his troops near Gibraltar, defeated and killed Roderick in Guadalete. (3) Four months later, the North Africans had occupied Toledo, the capital, in central Spain, and then continued to advance northward. By 725 they had reached the French town of Carcasonne. (4) They encountered little organized resistance until close to the end of the century, at Roncesvalles. (5)

Thus the history of the Muslim invasion of Spain started with fragmentation, division, and civil war, while the slow recovery of lands from Islam for the tiny Christian pockets of resistance demanded the painful efforts of many generations until at last victory was achieved with Ferdinand and Isabella's conquest of Granada in 1492. Between the mythic separation and loss of the kingdom and the myth-building reunion of the Reconquista stood eight centuries of frontier friction and cultural symbiosis. During the Middle Ages the Iberian Peninsula was a privileged place where three great cultures came together. Muslims, Jews, and Christians shared a cultural continuum torn by sporadic though intense strife. Not surprisingly, this long period has proved to be an endless source of rich inspiration for writers of all backgrounds to the present time. (6)

The purpose of this article is to address the politics of the representation of the Islamic irruption on the Iberian Peninsula in the plays of two Stuart playwrights, William Rowley and Mary Pix. Rowley's All's Lost by Lust, first performed in 1622, tells the events of Tariq's invasion and Roderick's defeat in a vague but still recognizable form. His deployment of the Islamic characters in his play is shaped on an anti-Spanish intent because the presence and actions of the Moors help to convey the inadequacy and decadence of the Spanish Christians. In 1705, Mary Pix adapted this play in her own The Conquest of Spain, though her emphasis was on the figure of the ravished woman as the focus of intercultural and patriarchal conflict. Her revisions of Rowley's play de-emphasize the participation of the Moors and introduces a doubling technique that, stressing the commonalities between Moors and Christians in their victimization of women, thus subordinates racial concerns to her preoccupation with patriarchy.

I. The Islamic Invasion in the Early Spanish Historical Ballads

Notwithstanding the efforts of historians, the events surrounding the Islamic conquest of Spain remain steeped in legend. Pedro Chalmeta has hypothesized that Julian tried to conceal his role in the "loss of Spain to Islam" by circulating the rumor that King Roderick had seduced his beautiful daughter Florinda, who had been sent to the king's capital, Toledo. By virtue of this tale, Julian ceased to be a traitor and became the avenger of his honor, while his North African allies merely assisted in putting to rights the wrong committed by a corrupt king. According to Chalmeta's thesis, this story was given credence by the Islamic chroniclers, and eventually it was to be reproduced in the anonymous ballads composed in Christian Spain. (7)

This is a likely explanation for the origin of the many Spanish ballads dealing with the loss of Spain to the Moors. The versions that have reached us date from fifteenth-century manuscripts, and they cover the particulars of the year 711. (8) Some--for example, "Romance de los amores del rey don Rodrigo y de la Cava"--focus on the love relationship between the king and Julian's daughter, identified in the poems as "La Cava" a name deriving from the Arabic cahba meaning "prostitute." Here the poem assigns Roderick the blame for having seduced her "mas por fuerza que por grado" (by force rather than with love) and ends with the warning that this horrible sin will bring about the destruction of the kingdom. This is, however, the only ballad where the woman is given a voice and allowed to take an active role. Other ballads, such as "Romance del sueno de don Rodrigo," mention her simply as being asleep next to the king when he awakes to the sound of a maid's voice. The maid, Fortune, urges that his kingdom is about to be destroyed by the raging invaders who have been called to avenge Julian's honor. This ballad meshes with "Romance de la derrota del rey don Rodrigo," which describes the aftermath of the battle of Guadalete. The Christian army has dispersed under the strength of the Muslim attack, and the king survives only to grieve over the defeat. Hungry and thirsty, he rides alone and covered in blood while he mourns his fate in moving verse:
 Ayer era rey d'Espana,
 hoy no lo soy de una villa,
 ayer villas y castillos,
 hoy ninguno posseia;
 ayer tenia criados,
 y gente que me servia;
 hoy no tengo una almena
 que pueda dezir que es mia.

 (Yesterday I was king of Spain, today I rule not over a
 town; yesterday villages and castles were mine, but none
 today; yesterday I had servants and vassals, today not a
 stone can I call my own.) (9)

Finally, other romances switch to the mysterious death of Roderick. Although historians agree that he died in the battle, the conquerors never retrieved his body, and so it is thought that it may have been removed by the king's close entourage and secretly buried elsewhere. Using the lack of news regarding this death as their springboard, ballads such as "Romance de la penitencia del rey don Rodrigo" colorfully depict a contrite king looking for a hermit's spiritual guidance. The saintly man directs Roderick to do penance for his appalling sin: he must lie in a grave with a viper. Three days later, the hermit finds Roderick still alive and praying in his grave; when he next returns, he hears moans and prayers. Roderick says the viper is eating him up "por la parte/que todo lo merecia, / por donde fue el principio / de la mi muy gran desdicha" (those parts of me that had sinned the most, where my great misfortune first started). (10)

The early Spanish ballads were not the only poetic compositions to engage this topic. In fact, besides this popular oral tradition, there emerged in the early modern period a more learned tradition in dealing with the subject of the Islamic conquest of Spain. Probably the best known of these compositions was "La profecia del Tajo" by sixteenth-century poet Fray Luis de Leon. Although he uses as his starting point an image from one of the ballads--that of Roderick and La Cava lying together--he moves away from the realm of the popular in order to choose the river Tagus as his speaker and sole witness to this illicit love affair. Not unlike the goddess Fortune in yet another ballad, the river condemns the relationship and warns the king of impending disaster. Tagus, powerfully depicting scenes of terrible woe and suffering, concludes with the fate of a country condemned to foreign rule. (11)

II. William Rowley's All's Lost by Lust

How exactly this evocative subject matter circulated beyond the Spanish borders and reached Stuart England is not known with any accuracy. Charles Wharton Stork, the 1910 editor of Rowley's All's Lost by Lust, speculated that Rowley might have read an account of the legend in the Rerum hispanicarum scriptores, printed at Frankfort in 1579. Whatever Rowley's source, it is beyond doubt that the play is shaped by the events described above since the main plot of All's Lost by Lust recognizably follows the tragic events of the legend. Roderick, king of Spain, is infatuated with the virtuous Iacinta, daughter of the powerful General Iulianus. After several failed attempts to make her his, Roderick decides to send the father away to check the advance of the invading Moors and to hire Malena the bawd to make one more effort to win her. A secondary plot focuses on the young lord of Barcelona, Antonio, who is similarly seized by lust and frustrated in his desires to win the poor and socially inferior Margaretta. Antonio finally understands that the only way he can obtain her is by lawful marriage, and so he marries her before joining the Christian troops against the Moors. But when all the Christians meet in Don Alonzo's castle, Antonio finds himself attracted to this lord's daughter, Dionisia, a woman of wealth and noble extraction and therefore a more suitable partner than the woman he has married merely out of lust. Tempted by Alonzo with Dionisia's hand, and for the first time truly in love, Antonio is unable to refuse. He will marry Dionisia bigamously. While the battle against the Moors rages, the parallel siege of Iacinta's charms continues in Roderick's castle. But neither Malena nor Roderick's sycophant Lothario manages to win Iacinta over, and eventually Roderick rapes her.

At this point, the two wronged women in the play, Iacinta and Margaretta, seek revenge. The former breaks free from her imprisonment in the king's castle and reaches her father's tent on the battlefield as he and his troops are celebrating their victory over the Moors. Informed of the king's crime, Iulianus turns against him and calls on his former enemies as well as his own followers for their help against the tyrant. In the meantime, Margaretta has heard of her husband's bigamous marriage and has resolved to punish his betrayal with death. Writing to Antonio, she pretends to give way before the new wife and to accept a concubine's subordinate position--and she entices him to continue to visit her at night from time to time. Antonio's servant Lazarello offers to go in his place, and thus falls prey to Margaretta's rage. As she is taken to justice in Roderick's palace, she encounters Antonio and Dionisia there. Antonio has been wounded by Iulianus for daring to oppose the rebellion, and before dying he apologizes to Margaretta. Duly forgiving his deception and wanting to join him in the afterlife, the two wives then kill themselves.

Meanwhile the rebels, Moors and Christians together, have defeated Roderick's army, and the king must flee for his life. After they storm the castle, the leader of the Moors, Muley Mumen, asks for Iacinta's hand in order to seal the alliance, but when she spurns him he orders Iulianus's eyes and Iacinta's tongue removed. Then he mockingly offers Iulianus a chance to die honorably in fair combat, but he cheats and uses Iacinta's body to shield himself so that the blind father unwittingly kills his own daughter before the Moor puts him to the sword.

At first sight it might be thought that the Islamic role in the play is rather small and limited to the denouement. Nevertheless, the Moors consistently behave as the long-reaching arm of Justice in All's Lost by Lust. Both in the main plot and in the subplot, a Muslim character takes on the agential features denied to the wronged women. In the latter, Margaretta is unable to strike the blow against her beloved but treacherous husband, and so she enlists the help of her waiting woman (identified in the dramatis personae as Fydella the Moor) with the words "Fydella, take my strength into thine armes, / And play the cruell executioner, as I will first instruct thee" (4.2.6-8). (12) After the act she calls her servant "thou little instrument of my revenge" (4.2.39).

Similarly, in the main plot Muley Mumen answers Iulianus's call for help:
 Most willingly, to binde me faster to thee,
 Plight me thy ravisht daughter to my wife,
 And thou shalt see my indignation fly
 On wings of Thunder.

His later change of heart does not come about arbitrarily. It is the result of Iacinta's explicit hatred and prejudice. Considering Muley Mumen's race inherently evil, she calls him "base African, / Thine inside's blacker then thy sooty skin" (5.5.14-15). As a matter of fact, similar epithets are elsewhere scattered here and there in the play. Moors are "the barbarous and tawney Africans" (1.1.20), "Sooty as the inhabitants of hell" (1.1.33). References to their living in a hot climate also establish a chain of associations with the heat of lust and the heat of hell. Although these terms belong in the well-worn vocabulary of racism, they have a not altogether unimportant function insofar as they contribute to the view of Muslim characters as instruments of God's justice. (13) A case in point is Muley Mumen's reaction to Margaretta's crime, which he summarily condemns as "More fruits of Christians" (5.5.56)--an ironic denunciation of the lack of moral currency in the kingdom. The Moors bring punishment to all the Christian characters because they have all sinned: Antonio by committing adultery, Margaretta in mistakenly murdering Lazarello, Roderick for lusting after Iacinta, Lothario for acting as his bawd, Iulianus for betraying his country, Iacinta for spurring revenge without a thought for the consequences. Only Dionisia is completely blameless, and her suicide is correspondingly conveyed not as punishment but as an act of boundless love. The unnecessary cruelty of the final reckoning in act 5, scene 5, is no more than a stage effect, abundant bloodshed being a commonplace in a tragedy's last scene; neither does it alter the fact that such widespread corruption deserved punishment. The loss of the kingdom, however cruelly Muley Mumen may laugh at the end, is thus duly justified.

The main purpose of the play, as well as the key function of the Islamic characters, would seem to be to expose the corruption and decadence of the kingdom of Spain. This anti-Spanish attitude is not surprising if we take into account that Rowley must have written it in the midst of the controversy over the Spanish match for Prince Charles (later King Charles I). It is well known that the negotiations of James I with Spain through Gondomar generated heated protest, especially since they also entailed the passive watching by England of the Habsburgs as they tore the Protestant Palatinate to pieces. In November 1621, as Roger Lockyer observes,
 [t]he Commons, under the leadership of Sir Edward Coke, plunged into
 a debate on foreign affairs and named Spain as the major enemy. They
 drew up a petition to James urging him "to pursue and more publicly
 avow the aiding of those of our religion in foreign parts" at a time
 when a "strange confederacy of the princes of the popish religion"
 was threatening the very existence of protestantism. And to check
 the enemy within the gates they demanded that the recusancy laws be
 strictly enforced, and that "our most noble Prince [Charles] may be
 timely and happily married to one of our own religion." (14)

The Commons' petition is indicative of how the matters of invasion, intercultural conflict, and religious strife, mixed with the less public concerns of love in All's Lost by Lust, would have appealed to audiences at this time. But the attraction of the loss-of-Spain topos did not stop here.

III. Mary Pix's The Conquest of Spain

In 1705, Mary Pix reworked Rowley's materials in The Conquest of Spain. The appeal of Moorish Spain during the Restoration is well known, especially but not exclusively after John Dryden's The Conquest of Granada (1671). (15) Pix herself may have seen at Drury Lane the 1695 revival of Aphra Behn's Abdelazer (1676), which had a plot that also featured a country torn between the Islamic and the Christian factions. The choice of topic and plot is unlikely to have been incidental or to have derived simply from fashion, however, for England was at this point in the midst of the War of the Spanish Succession. Indeed, as Bridget Orr points out, "the play was produced after the capture of Gibraltar and the victory at Blenheim." (16) At the death of Charles II, the issueless "Bewitched" of Spain, in 1700, there had appeared several candidates for the Spanish throne. Prominent among them was Philip, grandson to King Louis XIV of France. England did not relish the idea of a family alliance between the two very powerful and very Catholic kingdoms of France and Spain, and therefore King William supported a rival candidate in order to prevent the French Bourbons from seizing the Spanish throne. (17) Since this "invasion" of Spain, if successful, would be highly dangerous for England, Pix must have been trying to capitalize on those nationalistic feelings that always run high in times of war, particularly for the English when the French are involved.

Although Pix follows Rowley's play fairly closely, she chooses to depart from it in a number of interesting points, as will be shown below. The Conquest of Spain also tells how the virtuous Jacincta is raped by the lustful King Rhoderique, who in order to have his way with her sends away her father and protector, General Julianus, to fight against the invading Moorish forces led by Mullymullen:
 Let the Old Man amidst his Iron Warriers
 Make long Harangues, and win the Soldiers Hearts:
 Whilst with his beauteous Daughter I am blest,
 Lost in the Revels of tumultuous Joy.
 (1.2) (18)

In his complete loyalty to his sovereign, Julianus actually entrusts him in his absence with the keeping and protection not only of his daughter Jacincta but also of his ward Margaretta. Left to her own devices, Jacincta virtuously refuses to listen to the king's tempting words or to accept his rich gifts. Eventually Rhoderique despairs of obtaining her and rapes her. Jacincta then manages to escape and reaches her father's camp. At this point the violated woman leaves the domestic environment that has dominated the first part of the play and enters the public domain, represented in both plays by the battlefield where Christians and Moors fight over control of the land.

Nevertheless, unlike Rowley, Pix deploys throughout the play a series of parallels between the female body and the nation that help her construct a critique of conventional values. Like the nation Julianus was appointed to defend from the Moorish invasion, his daughter Jacincta was likewise threatened and in need of protection. However, he failed in his duty, and now the female body has been violated, while at the public level the land is being devastated and ravaged by the ongoing war. The parallelism reaches a head when Jacincta, disguised as a Moorish woman, approaches her father. In Rowley's version of this scene, Iacincta went at first unrecognized by her father, so it can be inferred that she was disguised. Pix's Jacincta is explicitly described as wearing a Moorish costume, which hints at the defilement and alienation she has undergone and also projects a symbolic image of the future of Christian Spain. (19) Under cover of her Moorish veil, she movingly denounces the wrong she has suffered while also offering a titillating picture of sexualized femininity: (20)
 Say your Daughter,
 By some curst Hand was drag'd to Violation,
 Think if you see her torn from her Apartment,
 Her loosen'd Hair wound round the Villain's Hand,
 Calling in vain on Heaven and her Father,
 Her tender Bosom bruis'd, her Garments rent
 With strugling to escape the foul Dishonour;
 Think if you saw her kneeling on the Earth
 Imploring Pity of those cruel Monsters,
 More savage than the Beasts that hunt in Forests,
 Think that you saw them bear her through the Pallace,
 Deaf to her Prayers, her Tears, her Threats and Cries,
 And yielded her up a Prey to raging Lust,
 How wou'd you bear this Scene, or how Revenge it?

 See here the injur'd, ravish'd, lost Jacincta, [Throwing up her
 Veil.] The blotted Relic of a ruin'd Maid;
 Pity my Shame, and spare my faultring Tongue
 The hated repetition of my Wrongs.

However, in this instance woman's pathos, in the shape and voice of Jacincta's moving account, fails to trigger the desired response. Julianus feels that his duty to the king his lord is more important than his own family honor:
 Saids thou the King? Then all revenge is lost,
 And we must bear our heavy load of Shame:
 Tamely as Cowards I must bear this Wrong;
 Nor once attempt to wash thy Stains in Blood.

Remarkably, here Pix is departing from her source text, in which Iulianus immediately declared himself the king's avowed foe and incited the nobles with him to rebel (All's Lost by Lust 4.1). This departure has been mis-read by critics, who perceive it simply as one more imperfection. Margarete Rubik's comment is that" [t]he incredible loyalty of the general, who will not even rebel against his monarch even when the latter breaks every sacred trust, is clearly approved by Pix." (21) But whether Pix's sympathies lie with the general is rather unclear. The other Spanish nobles react with as much disapproval as would a contemporary audience. In fact, the general's decision only serves to lead the country further into chaos and anarchy, and so it is much more likely that Julianus's all-too-perfect loyalty is Pix's device to hint at the moral untenability (indeed, the very undesirability) of such old-fashioned ideas of heroism.

Unlike Jacincta's father, the Christian forces become enraged by the spectacle of her ravished virtue, and they forge an "unnatural" alliance with the Moors in order to bring down the Spanish tyrant. Led by Theomantius, a character contracted to Jacincta and newly introduced by Pix, and by the Moor Mullymumen, they take on the task of avenging her as well as Julianus. They break into the castle and incarcerate the king. But once this end is accomplished, the two sides prove to be distinctly at odds. Moors and Christians are suddenly shown to be rivals not just for the land but also (and this is Pix's major innovation) for the very women that their leaders desire:
 Vain Prince [Theomantius], you meant me for a tool of War.
 Short-sighted in the Depth of Politicians,
 As such I have us'd thee, nor canst thou blame me,
 Spain and Jacincta, now shall be my care.

 I am thy Rival, by thy sullen Stars,
 Chose out to finish thy unhappy Fate;
 I saw the Ravish'd Fair, when seeking thee,
 She fearless rang'd the Bloody maze of Horror;
 Calling in vain on Cruel Theomantius
 The Moon shone fierce to Gaze upon her Beauties,
 And lent her willing light to aid my view;
 New kindling Fires glow'd within my breast,
 I snatch'd her from the Dangers of the Night,
 And sent her to her Father, well resolv'd,
 When next we meet, to Claim her as my due,
 For such she is.

Male rivalry over women and over the country thus seals the trope of woman-as-nation that Pix skillfully deploys in The Conquest of Spain. In both cases conventional values have proved to be ineffective or even seriously defective. The king has failed to protect the kingdom from the invaders; immersed in hedonistic pleasures, he has been careless in the discharge of his duties. Although he escapes death, he must flee into exile and oblivion. His crown will be left in the hands of the invaders. Similarly, the patriarch has failed to protect his daughter's honor from the tyrant's lust, and so he has lost in her the unpolluted source of progeny that would immortalize his family. The familiar symbols of kingship and warrior heroism, so deeply entwined with the dramatic genre of tragedy, are here deflated. Spain will cease to exist as a Christian nation just as Jacincta's defiled body is likewise unrecuperable. In act 5 she dies in the confusion of the battle.

In addition to this substantial change, Pix streamlines Rowley's subplot. The adulterous triangle Antonio-Margaretta-Dionisia becomes in this later play the virtuous-though-secret marriage of Julianus's nephew Antonio and Julianus's ward Margaretta which is endangered by the jealousy of Alvarez. Functioning as a perfect mirror of Jacincta's virtue, Margaretta contributes once more to the doubling effects in the play. She too must resist the unwanted advances of a man who uses deceit to get into her bed, and she too remains perfectly loyal to the man she loves. However, she is luckier than Jacincta, for she is saved from "pollution" by her husband's arrival at the last opportune moment. There is no example of female deviance in Pix's world. Fydella's role as active instrument of revenge has been erased. Instead, women's virtue is shown to be subjected to arbitrary fate and mere chance; it is not at all a matter of bringing about its just reward.

The parallel between the ravished female body and the invaded nation that was latent in Rowley's play allows Pix to question both monarchy and patriarchy by showing them to be equally abusive and oppressive. As Dympna Callaghan has remarked in the case of Renaissance tragedy, tragic female characters "are frequently constructed as catalysts of tragic action, throwing moral order into confusion rather than merely ratifying its boundaries; they serve not just to define limits but also to uncover the limiting structures of society." (22) Concerning the case at hand, the idea that the lords' neglect of their duties leads to trouble, anarchy, and confusion appears prominently among "Country" thinkers of Pix's period, as Downie explains:
 Landlords were supposed to care for their dependants, both
 materially and morally, therefore the condition of their tenants
 was of the first importance. Neglect of the landlord's
 paternalistic role would only lead to trouble. Not only was it
 morally wrong, it threatened the stability of the social system. (23)

Similarly, Pix's Whig sympathies lead her to hint at the excessive power of both patriarchy and monarchy as well as at their recurrent failure to bring about the benefits they advertise. Patriarchy and monarchy as institutions are all-encompassing in this play, and they go well beyond race. This is not as exceptional for the period as it might seem. Orr has pointed out that in some plays "the aristocratic status of the characters" appears here to have overridden "an ethnic or racial categorization." (24) However, this critic has failed to apply this argument in her reading of Pix's Conquest, for she finds only a puzzling ambiguity: "The contradiction between the desire to celebrate a well-deserved Spanish defeat and profound hostility towards the invading force of Moors is never really resolved, either in the characterization of the Moorish General Mullymumen or in the conclusion of the action." (25) Rather than being a defect, such lack of resolution is a contrived effect. Christians and Moors are here interchangeable. One can hardly tell the difference between Theomantius and Mulleymumen, for instance. Both adhere, in words and deeds, to a chivalric code of behavior. Both want to possess Jacincta, and they are willing to wreck havoc in the process. What is at stake in the main plot is after all a mere traffic in women. This explains the final survival of the couple Antonio-Margaretta. It is the only relationship where the patriarchal structure has held fast, and Antonio has fulfilled his role as protector of the woman who is to bear his children. It is no mere detail that Margaretta is pregnant, because it shows the line of succession to be unpolluted in a play where pollution and corruption are in everybody's mouths. Indeed, the pathos of her plight in climatic moments stems from her condition:
 To what obscure retreat art thou to Guide me,
 Where to Conceal his Crime and my Disgrace
 This Wretched Burthen of my teeming Womb,
 This Unborn Babe, may be in stealth brought up
 By a vile Name to my great Race unknown.

The submission of women (embodied above all by the virtuous Jacincta) and of subjects (as performed by Julianus's perfect loyalty) succeeds only in fostering disaster. Pix opts for emphasizing the importance of the private realm--that is, women's victimization--and displaying its potential to disrupt the public sphere. What destroys Spain in this play is not the Islamic invasion. It is the male inability to forge equal relationships. There is no poetic justice for women in Pix's universe: good actions are unrewarded, and evil forces (whether white or not) cannot be checked.

Toward a Conclusion

Both of the Stuart playwrights under discussion in this article must have become interested in the loss-of-Spain topos due to the opportunistic value of the legend, since they made use of the materials at those times when war raged in Europe and therefore when England had to define its policies and take sides in a cross-cultural and religious conflagration. The racialized rhetoric of the Islamic invasion, charged with connotations of evil and impending disaster, afforded them a ready-made discourse that they masterfully put to use in their plays.

Though their means were the same, their purposes differed. Rowley's All's Lost by Lust, as the title itself hints, is more cataclysmic in tone and development--a reminder to the audience, and a warning to the powers that be, that England must honor its commitment to Protestantism and long-standing alliances if it is to survive. More conservative in its principles, the play is meant to reinforce conventional values and mores, and the representation of the Islamic characters is thus conventional as well. The Moors are portrayed as hellhounds, dealing death and punishment to all involved, especially in the final scene. In this they follow the rules of the tragedy of blood of the 1620s.

At first sight, as Jacqueline Pearson has maintained, Pix's The Conquest of Spain might appear to be more sympathetic in its portrayal of the Islamic characters. (26) Nevertheless, I have contended here that this is more a result of the modification in the role they play as well as of the substantial change in dramatic conventions. In Pix's time the final scene in Rowley's play would have been perceived as lacking in taste, and thus she altered it to achieve consistency with the rules of the tragedy of pathos, for pity and sympathy were the emotions that were to be promoted instead of horror and shock. Following the lead of Restoration authors such as Dryden, the leader of the Moors is less bloodthirsty and more noble. But the rhetoric of black as evil and contaminated remains in place, both for the Moors and for the wronged woman who, unlike her unblemished counterpart, is ill-fated.


(1) Jose Orlandis also notes an economic crisis and a religious crisis as roots of the general decadence of the kingdom; see his Historia de Espana, epoca visigocla (409-711) (Madrid: Gredos, 1987), 269-71. For the Islamic version of the conquest, taking into account the medieval chroniclers of Al-Andalus, see Anwar G. Chejne, Historia de Espana Musulmana (Madrid: Catedra, 1980), 15-26; but for a more detailed account of the events leading to and during the invasion, see Pedro Chalmeta, Invasion e Islamizacion (Madrid: Editorial Mapfre, 1994), 109-59.

(2) In Roman times Betica signified the area of the Betis River valley and, by extension, the southern region of the Iberian Peninsula--the region later renamed Al-Andalus by the Moors and currently known as Andalucia.

(3) Indeed, Gibraltar was named after Tariq's arrival, since the word derives from Gebal-Tariq, meaning Tariq's Mountain.

(4) Antonio Ubieto et al., Introduccion a la Historia de Espana, 13th ed. (Barcelona: Teide, 1981), 76.

(5) Ibid., 778.

(6) A good example of such continued interest is Juan Goytisolo's 1970 novel Reivindicacion del Conde don Julian, ed. Linda Gould Levine (Madrid: Catedra, 1985), in which the Spanish author, who has resided in Morocco for many years, deploys the mysterious figure of Julian to destabilize the very notion of a Spanish essence and celebrates hybridity on the grounds that "one's country is the root of all vices" (203; translation mine).

(7) For a sweeping overview of twentieth-century interpretations of the loss-of-Spain topos and particularly of Florinda as an allegory of Spanish identity, see Juan Francisco Maura, "Alegorias de la derrota en la Malinche y Florinda 'La Cava': dos paradigmas de la identidad hispana," Hispanic Review 16, no. 2 (1995): 259-67.

(8) Unless otherwise specified, all citations to the Spanish ballads are to Michelle Debax, Romancero (Madrid: Alhambra, 1982).

(9) Translation mine.

(10) Translation mine.

(11) Fray Luis de Leon, "La profecia de Tajo," in Armas y letras en el Siglo de Oro espanol: Antologia poetica, ed. Victor Garcia de la Concha, et al (Madrid: Ministerio de Defensa, Ministerio de Cultura y Biblioteca Nacional, 1998), 41-43.

(12) All quotations from Rowley's play in my article are from William Rowley, All's Lost by Lust, ed. Charles Wharton Stork, Publications of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1910). The play was first published in 1633.

(13) For the representation of race in Early Modern English drama, see among others The Black Presence in English Literature, ed. David Dabydeen (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985); Ania Loomba, Gender, Race, Renaissance Drama (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989); Women, "Race," and Writing in the Early Modern Period, ed. Margo Hendricks and Patricia Parker (London: Routledge, 1994); and Victoria Mason Vaughan, Othello: A Contextual History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). With regard to this topic in the Spanish Drama of the Golden Age, see Baltasar Fra Molinero's La imagen de los negros en el teatro del Siglo de Oro (Madrid: Siglo XXI de Espana, 1995).

(14) Roger Lockyer, Tudor and Stuart Britain, 1471-1714 (Harlow: Longman, 1964), 238.

(15) Jacqueline Pearson ("Blacker than Hell Creates: Pix Rewrites Othello" in Broken Boundaries: Women and Feminism in Restoration Drama, ed. Katherine M. Quinsey[Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996], 13-30) has remarked that ethnic otherness held particular interest for women dramatists of the Restoration. She argues that the reason is that "racial and ethnic difference provided useful tropes for gender difference" (ibid., 15-16).

(16) Bridget Orr, Empire on the English Stage, 1660-1714 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 179.

(17) Although the English failed to stop the French Bourbons, they achieved several territorial gains in exchange for accepting the French succession in Spain under Philip V. These territories, which coincidentally included Gibraltar, were granted to the English by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.

(18) Quotations from this play in my article are from Mary Pix, The Conquest of Spain, in The Plays of Mary Pix and Catharine Trotter, ed. Edna Steeves, 2 vols. (New York: Garland, 1982), vol. 1. Although most characters' names were retained by Pix, the spelling sometimes differs, as might be expected.

(19) Pearson ("Blacker than Hell Creates" 24) has pointed out the symbolism of this disguise, which would stand for a "blackened" reputation, and has noted a parallel with Webster's The Devil's Law-Case (1623), but she does not perceive any further connections with the war over the nation, as I do. We also differ in how we interpret Pix's representation of the Moors in the play. To Pearson, Pix empathizes with the exotic Other and deconstructs the racist script; in my opinion, the symbolism of the disguise indicates that Pix is using the very same racist script with similar intent. Pix's Moors, I believe, are no less evil than Rowley's, even though they may not shed quite as much blood.

(20) For the sexual titillation produced by women's ravished bodies on the Restoration stage, see also Jean I. Marsden, "Rape, Voyeurism and the Restoration Stage," in Broken Boundaries, ed. Quinsey, 185-200, and also Marsden's "Spectacle, Horror, and Pathos," in The Cambridge Companion to English Restoration Theatre, ed. Deborah Payne Fisk (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 174-90.

(21) Margarete Rubik, Early Women Dramatists, 1550-1800 (London: Macmillan, 1998), 85.

(22) Dympna Callaghan, Woman and Gender in Renaissance Tragedy (Hemel Hempsted: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1989), 63.

(23) J. A. Downey, To Settle the Succession of the State: Literature and Politics, 1678-1750 (London: Macmillan, 1994), 47.

(24) Orr, Empire on the English Stage, 19.

(25) Ibid., 180.

(26) Pearson, "Blacker than Hell Creates," 13-30.

Universidad de Huelva, Spain
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Author:Cuder-Dominguez, Pilar
Publication:Comparative Drama
Date:Sep 22, 2002
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