Life Is The Reality You Choose

On Calderon's "La vida es sueño"

"La vida es sueño"

“the representation of cyclical continuity within discontinuity (rebellion), of permanence within the frame of change, and of life within the context of art.” Calderon asks that, “if the dream of life is art, then the dream of art is the realization of the conceptual basis of life.” then, “what is life?”

Themes in Calderon's work:

Dogma: "La vida es sueno" autos sacramentales, meaning a sacramental play; Calderon lived a very religious life; this play can be looked at through nonreligious lens because of its idea of choosing how you want to live your life (dogmas being empirical), however this idea of freedom (and inconsistency of ethics) was very common in Spain during Calderon's time


Illusion vs Reality: theatre itself is an illusion of reality, Lope de Vega and Calderon's relationship as father-son, symbolism and mythology of Vega's poem used in "La vida es sueno"


Values of Characters (Segismund's view): The only certitude that Segismundo recognizes through his experiences of numerous awakenings, is that the reality he is in is a dream and that he may look forward to more awakenings. Having only this certitude, “Segismundo concludes that the equivocality of appearance-reality is in itself the basis for values: 'But, be it truth or dream, To act well is what matters; If it be true, because it is; If not, to win friends For when we shall awake.” Based off of this, Calderon is implying that values are important to Segismund and are something that he learns when exploring his reality

Main Characters

Other Characters:

Duke Astolfo, Princess Estrella, and Clarin

Duke Astolfo: cousin of Estrella, in line for the crown

Princess Estrella: cousin of Astolfo, also in line for crown

Clarin: jester, friend of Rosaura