THE LIFE AND WORKS OF LOPE DE VEGA
Lope de Vega (full name Félix Arturo Lope de Vega y Carpio) was well known throughout the world as The Phoenix of Spain. He lived his life to become one of the most important playwrights and poets of the Spanish Golden Century Baroque. Born in Madrid on November 25th 1562, he started showing his enormous talent for writing at an early age. During his lifetime he wrote over 1800 comedia pieces and hundreds shorter dramatic pieces of which around 500 were published. Lope de Vega transformed the Spanish theatre and took it to its greater limits. He died on August 27th 1635 and to this day his work remains popular all over the world.
At the age of five, Lope was already showing signs of a genius in the making. He was reading and speaking fluent Spanish and Latin and by the age of 12 he had written his first play. Today, over 80 of his plays are considered masterpieces. When Lope was fourteen, he was enrolled in a Jesuit school in Madrid and studied at the University of Alcala. After his graduation he wanted to follow the footsteps of his patron, Bishop of Avila and become a priest, but his love for women was too great and he realized that the life of celibacy was not his style. In 1583 he joined the military and was a part of the Spanish Navy. After his return to Madrid, Lope officially began his life as a playwright. Here he fell in love with a daughter of a theatre owner, Elena Osorio. She soon left him for another man and Lope started a vitriolic attack on her and her family. Because of this, he got thrown into jail, and soon after was banished from the court for eight years and two years from Castile. In the company of a 16-year-old Isabel de Urbina he went into exile. De Vega was forced to marry her after this. After being married for only a few weeks, Lope went back to serving his country with the Navy. In 1588 the Invincible Armada sailed against England and Lope’s ship was one of the few that returned unharmed. Upon his return he settled in Valencia working as a dramatist. In 1950 he served as the secretary of the Duke of Alba, and because of this he relocated to Toledo. Five years later Isabel died, and since his eight years of banishment have passed, he left Toledo and moved back to Madrid. Here he found more love affairs and more scandals. He also had four children with Micaela de Lujan. Micaela was his inspiration for a rich series of sonnets. In 1594 he wrote a well-known play called El maestro de danzar, otherwise known as The Dancing Master. Yet in 1598 he married yet again, a daughter of a very wealthy butcher. Still his affairs with other women and Micaela continued. In this year he wrote La Arcadia, a pastoral romance which to this day is one of the poet’s most wearisome productions. Also, he wrote La Dragontea, a history in verse of Sir Francis Drake’s last expedition and death. A year later he wrote a narrative life of Saint Isidore , the patron saint of Madrid, composed in octosyllabolic quintillas, called El Isidro. In 1580s and 1590s his moorish and pastoral themed poems were extremely popular, partly because they were a reflection of Lope’s own affairs and the characters has a lot in common with Lope and his life at the time, his numerous love affairs. In 1602 alone he published two hundred sonnets and in 1604 he republished them with new material in his Rimas. In the 17th century Lope de Vega’s literary output reached his peak. He wrote La La Hermosura de Angélica, a set of three books, in 1602. He was truly one of the greatest poets of his time. After that decade however, lopes life took a turn for the worse. Lope lost his son, his wife and at this point Micaela disappears as well. He gathered all of his children and moved them under the same roof. His writing in the early 1600’s was full of heavier religious influences and finally, in 1614 he joined the priesthood. In 1614 his religious sonnets were published in a book called Rimas sacras,...
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