The Phantom Lady Essay

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The Phantom Lady
Themes, social implications and play characteristics have always been the three main concerns that theatre critics have when analyzing or criticizing a play. In this case, The Phantom Lady is an intriguing story of a young woman, Angela, who is forced by her brothers to mourn in isolation, later begging for the aid of Don Manuel, who saves her. This fascinating play conveys a wide array of different themes that the author, Calderon de La Barca advocates, among these, we find nobility, courtesy, love and jealousy, no other themes were largely displayed, and the biggest one displayed was that of nobility along with courteous actions. To demonstrate these themes, the play needs to use a stage, dialogue, costumes and stage effects such as lighting; interaction with the audience was vital to tell the story to the public, along with the stage and its effects. Finally, were we to compare the implications this story would have in its current time period, compared with the modern day, we would find this story could never really happen presently, as many of the values held before have disappeared as times and beliefs change.
Writing plays is usually associated with feelings and beliefs. In this case, Calderon de La Barca wanted to advocate some themes in his play, The Phantom Lady, while his central thesis was most probably that of courtesy. The play conveys the message of courtesy very clearly, first, with the fact that Don Manuel accepted to defend an unknown woman, from Don Luis, the brother of this “unknown” women who the audience knows as Angela. Also, the theme of courtesy is clearly portrayed when Don Luis spares Don Manuel, and also when the former allows Don Luis to go and look for a new sword, after disarming him in combat. I believe to be this the central theme in a story that has a time period where courtesy and nobility where big. One cannot ignore that there are smaller themes present that help portray courtesy, those themes are love and jealousy, seen between Don Manuel and Angela, and also the jealousy of Don Luis, as he knows his brother is the owner of Beatriz’s heart.
Normally, dialogue in plays is among the characters, this was the case for The Phantom Lady. Characters spoke fluently between them, although sometimes the characters would face the public and speak almost as if addressing them directly, this was similar to Brecht’s style of theatre, to draw the play viewer out of the play world and make them think more critically about the play, rather than feeling it and being overly attached in the emotional aspect. The fact that characters spoke with each other instead of to the public directly makes little to no difference, as in the end the purpose is to tell the story, as always. There was one particular aspect of the play that gave details of the characters thoughts, they sometimes spoke as if to themselves, although some characters were present, they apparently did not hear their “loud” thinking, as if this was...

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