Characters in Conflict with Time: the Evolution and Exposition of Temporality in Historia de una escalera, El tragaluz, La Fundación, and La detonación

by Whittaker, Frieda Martina

Abstract (Summary)
In the four plays examined in this dissertation – Historia de una escalera, El tragaluz, La Fundación, and La detonación – Antonio Buero Vallejo penetrates the surface reality depicted in the plays' scenery, characters, and dialogue to reveal an extraordinary concern with the effect of time on these theatrical elements. The dramatist places his characters in antagonistic temporal contexts, and then he explores their reactions to the historical, social, and economic conflicts of the eras in which they exist. For example, Buero investigates the impact of the Spanish Civil War on his characters by examining their memories set against the official history of the War. He also depicts the effect of the economic deprivation of the aftermath of the War on their attempts to survive, and he focuses on the psychological suffering produced by their attempts to reconcile the present with the recent violent historical past. This study demonstrates that many temporal elements manifested in Buero’s first play, Historia de una escalera, evolve over the course of his experimentation in the other plays. The effect of temporality on the protagonists’ psychological states in these four plays becomes more intense with each succeeding play until it reaches a climax in Buero's interpretation of Mariano José de Larra. In La Fundación, Buero explores the effect of temporal collapse in a world devoid of many of the external cues of chronological time: nature, television, radio, and clocks. The disintegration of time in La Fundación is accompanied by an heroic attempt on the part of the protagonist to maintain contact with temporality by the psychological embellishment of space. In El tragaluz, the dramatist distances his audience from the present by psychologically transporting them to the future. In addition, the concept of chronological time breaks down in Buero’s dramatization of primal mythological themes which emphasize the persistence of a-temporal aspects in twentieth-century life. Buero's theatrical treatment of temporality in these four plays illustrates that his dramatic art is an amalgamation of literature, history, mythology, visual art, and science.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:antonio buero vallejo temporality chronological time historical mythological psychological


Date of Publication:01/01/2003

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