“The Cave of Salamanca” by Miguel de Cervantes Critical Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Jul 2nd, 2019

The Cave of Salamanca by Miguel de Cervantes is focused on one specific family with its peculiarities, but considering the situation, it is possible to state that the problems and sins which occur in the family under discussion are inherent to the whole society.

Discussing the plot the central events and the cases of deception are going to be highlighted. Thorough analysis of the situations and the cases of lying help the reader to understand the level of social deformity and depravity.

The plot of the story is focused on Pancracio, his wife Leonarda, their maid Cristina, Pancracio’s friend Leoniso and a student who appeared in the house accidentally. He just needed to stay somewhere for a night not to sleep in the street.

Having come to the place, he asked to have a sleep in the stable trying to sound as polite as he could, “I expected a more generous and gracious reception from such lovely and sweet ladies; particularly since I ask no arms, only a corner in the stable or a bit of straw for protection against of the darkness heavens, for the celestial sphere is threatening this sinful earth with the greatest severity” (Cervantes 90).

Even though the reception of a student was not that great as he expected, due to his inner ability to communicate with people, keep secrets, feel what they want to hear and tell them this, Carraolani manages to stay at the house. Student’s arrival coincides with the departure of Pancracio, Leonarda’s husband which says that she is extremely sorry for this and promises to wait.

However, she knows that Leoniso is going to come to her and one more man to her maid for having fun. However, the whole situation is ruined as Leonarda’s husband returns home and two men have nothing to do but to hide in the coal cellar. The situation seems rather complicated but thanks to wit and smart of the student, two men are able to leave safe.

Reading the novel, much deception may be met. The first situation where husband informs his wife about departure is full of lie. Leonarda says that she is very disappointed with his departure, “I shall control my uncontrollable grief and spend the lonely hours of your absence thinking of you” (Cervantes 88).

All these words are considered as lie because as soon as Pancracio leaves, Leonarda says to her maid to invite Leoniso to entertain her. Another deception is the way how the men get into the house and bring a basket of products making everybody think that it is a basket of linen. It seems that each word said by the characters is a lie, that each particular gesture is just the may to make sure that hey lie is strong.

One of the most impressive lies in the story is student’s discussion of the cave of Salamanca, his visit there and possession of the specific powers given to those who attend the cave. Trying to save two men from exposure, a student tells a story to Pancracio about his ability to communicate with the evil.

He says that he is offered such a gift because he attended the courses in the cave of Salamanca. An affective appearance of black men from the coal cellar impresses Pancracio greatly and he cannot even think about deception.

Looking at the situation which happens in the family and referring to the legend about the cave of Salamanca, it is important to state that the legend plays an inevitable part in the whole situation.

Being the central deception, the legend about the cave of Salamanca symbolizes the beliefs of the society which is ready to think in something incredible rather than accept personal naught. The role of the central deception is rather impressive as it points as the illness of the whole society.

The society in the story is characterized as deceptive one without any intentions for desire to live better. The institution of marriage and the very idea of fidelity are criticized in The Cave of Salamanca. Introducing the theme of the deceived husband, the author reveals the social problem of marriage and the attitude of people to this early sacred ceremony.

Moreover, the story also shows the domination of women under men even though it is universally accepted that women are to be subjected to their husbands. Jealous and the desire to capture a wife is shown from the husband’s side, while the wife is trying to hide her profligacy. In conclusion, it may be stated that the whole institution of family is criticized in a sarcastic manner.

The whole story is a show for one, for husband. Reading it, the impression is created that the whole life is the theater which performs particular plays for specific people and the society makes all possible to support that play, deceptive and mockery for one, but pleasant and impressive for others.

Works Cited

Cervantes, Miguel. “The Cave Of Salamanca.” World Drama: Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Denmark, Russia, Norway. Ed. Barrett H. Clark. New York: Courier Dover Publications, 1956. 88-95. Print.

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