Lazarillo de tormes essay

A special stimulus of the most intense kind came from the struggle with Spain. After a generation of half-piratical depredations by the English seadogs against the Spanish treasure fleets and the Spanish settlements in America, King Philip, exasperated. This novel was an inspiring and great representation of a segment in the 16th century Spanish society. Even though the Author is unknown, it was translated by W. Merwin and introduced by Juan Goytisolo.

The Life of Lazarillo De Tormes is centered on a young boy who has to adept in the world daily struggles for existence and goes through many experiences along the way ,becoming a servant for many different masters. Throughout the novel The Life of Lazarillo De Tormes shows how the fictional literature plays a huge part in social criticism, the Spanish economy has a big effect, and how the squire and other characters reflect upon the novel.

The Life of Lazarillo De Tormes is considered to be the first form of a picaresque novel. It is a genre of prose fiction that shows the adventures of a rogue hero of low social class, who lives by his wits in a corrupt society. This type of novel is also known to focus on a realistic style, with elements of comedy, irony and satire throughout the novel. Show More. Read More.

This little lesson causes the reader to squirm in his seat whilst acknowledging and relating to it. What we would have others perceive of us is different to what we really are. This is excellently illustrated by the two situations in which Lazarillo finds himself, one at the start and the other at the end of the novel.

A very ironic point being made here by the author. It causes society to question its actions and attitudes towards others, by firstly examining the virtue of oneself. The themes of deceit and immorality shine through brightly when it comes to his first amo, the beggar. Being blind he will use any form necessary to get what is needed for him. The church is also drawn into this as the blind man orates psalms and prayers to those who believe it will cure them of their ailments.


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Lazarillo is in this way taught corruption and cynicalism by example. This involves the escudero, the corrupt constable and the pardoner, the priest, the friar, the chaplain and the sergeant. He literally starves Lazarillo, which forces him to craftily have a key made so as to steal the communion bread, and actually pray for the death of parishioners so that he might eat well at their wakes.

Argument of Lazarillo de Tormes

The Priest serves only to reinforce the lessons of deceit and corruption taught by the beggar. The Priest represents also a strong element of hypocrisy here. Instead of tending to his flock, he takes off them, for example eating and drinking to excess at their wakes.

Only by blinding himself to the absence of charity in his actions can the priest continue to regard himself as a charitable person. The escudero, like all his masters, is not what he seems. He teaches Lazarillo that honour is all. In keeping up appearances, he seems to be living well whereas we know he lives in a hovel without food.

The escudero would gladly accept squalor, double-dealing, flattering and bad-mouthing to please a master, if he could find one- but on the surface he appears a true gentleman.


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We see from this tratado that people need to choose between integrity and survival. The corrupt constable and the cynical pardoner are strong symbols of deceit and corruption not only in society but in the church as well. The pardoner and his partner reveal how intelligent and unprincipled people can carry on in this crooked society by manipulating appearances and disregarding the harm that they exact upon their fellow human beings.

The friar and the sergeant have very minor parts in the novel and not very much is said about either. Even Lazarillo manages to spoil the passage. At the first sign of trouble, he runs away leaving the sergeant in the lurch, a show of his opportunistic nature.

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The friar on the other hand is another corrupt cog in the machine of the church. He is a womanising convivial rascal, a priest without vocation who hated church services and monastic life. The chaplain in tratado 6 is an immediate reflection of corruption in the church — a priest that runs a business!

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He believes himself to now be an honest man, ironically, as his final posting in life is one of his most corrupt. We come now to the final group, constituted of the archpriest and Vuestra Merced. Lazarillo, in the last tratado has become a town crier, the lowest rung job available, despicable and disreputable. He is approached by the Archpriest to marry his maid.

The Message and Role of the Narrator in Lazarillo de Tormes

This tratado not only deals with the ArchPriest, who is amoral, corrupt and deceitful, but also deals with his friend, Vuestra Merced, who is the instigator of this novel. We ourselves have to come to conclusions about V. Merced as we neither see nor hear directly of him. Essentially, by raising this question we can look back at every figure in the play and come up with at least three different versions of why they do what they do. The problem which will remain unsolved , is to know how much the anonymous author took in this aspect of his work?

The Lazarillo Phenomenon: Essays on the Adventures of a Classic Text - Google книги

The view of society depicted is dishonest, two-faced, hard up and demeaning. The immediate picture is of the corroding and subversion of all human relationships. It is quite difficult to talk of these themes solely in society, as the church seems to be inexorably linked throughout most parts of the story. The fact that they seem to go hand in hand is a point which cannot be missed by the reader, and one can only wonder whether the author intended it so as an anti-clerical statement or whether it come from personal experience?

The in-depth way in which this novel is written causes it to be an artefact of great complexity and subtlety that therefore creates the problem of which way to take it. It causes you to ask yourself, is this how society really works? Under a charade of morality and religion? In the end it all comes down to the readers own interpretation of the story.

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Lazarillo de Tormes

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