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The myth of Don Juan Tenorio

The myth of Don Juan Tenorio Seville

Don Juan is a recurring literary figure, perhaps fictional o perhaps a very human one whose story has been narrated repetitiously by different novelists. Don Juan’s behavior reflects the universal epitome of the unsatisfied seducer.

It seems the first version printed edition of this personage is “El buraldor de Sevilla o convidado de Piedra” by of Tirso de Molina, published in Spain in 1630 and which takes place in Seville

In almost every adaptation. Don Juan is arrogant, licentious and his passion is to seduce and con women

In Tirso de Molinas book, Don Juan Tenorio is a young Spanish Nobel that has seduced Doña Ana de Ulloa. In a duel in Seville defending the honor or her daughter, the father DonGonzalo dies and Don Juan flees from the city to continue his career of hoaxes and seduction. When he returns to Seville, he sees a stone statue of Don Gonzalo and invites the father to dinner.

The ghost of the father accepts but insists that they have dinner in the chapel of his tomb. Don Juan agrees and once in the mausoleum the ghost ask him to shake his hands as a sign of peace, Don Juan accepts and shakes the statues hand, then the statue grabs Don Juan’s hand firmly and drags him to hell

There has been much speculation if this personage Tirso de Molina talks about really existed, Some Hispanists have revealed information about the Tenorio family. seemingly some of its members were womanizers. Miquel Maraña of Seville was also mentioned eventhough the was born three years before the publication of the book, what is true is that the myth of Don Juan exists since the dawn of times and will be with us until our final day

This myth influences key tragic-comical plays like Don Juan of Moliere from 1665 who show us a Don Juan that is a licentious, unfaithful, mocking, blasphemous and hypocritical person

Lord Byron satirizes our protagonist in a poem. Here he spins him around and presents us a Don Juan that is manipulated and seduced by women. In those times, the poem was considered immoral even though it was finally published

In 1844 the romantic drama Don Juan Tenorio of Jose Zorilla emerges. The female protagonist is Doña Inés

Antonia de Zamora’s book “No hay plazo que no se cumpla ni deuda que no se pague o convidado de piedra” is half way between Tirso de Molina’s subtleness and the fantasy version of Zorrilla. This paly was usually represented on the first of November until it was substituted by Zorrilla’s version, a tradition that has continued and remains valid nowadays

The list of writers and poets that revived and recreated this myth is long. We could specially mention Hoffmann, Albert Camus, José de Espronceda and Alejandro Dumas.

In Seville you can walk the streets that have given life to the exploits of Don Juan Tenorio, either in the version of Tirso de Molina or Jose Zorrilla. In the district of Santa Cruz, one of the most popular in the Plaza de los Refinadores, there a sculpture that recreates the myth.

⚔ The myth to this day

Although this information may vary, in recent years, each November 1 there is a special celebration.

That day is in Spain the feast of All Saints and the legend of Don Juan Tenorio takes shape in multiple theatrical performances throughout the country, with special relevance in Seville.

So if you are at that time in Seville you can go to the theater and enjoy this famous character, who has passed through several eras, and now has a worldwide name of man conqueror of women.

Normally, although this varies from year to year, there are several places in the city of Seville where the play is always performed.

-The Hostería del Laurel, in the Plaza de los Venerables, is the tavern where Don Juan and Don Luis met, one year later, after their bet.
José Zorrilla stayed in this inn while he was writing the play. It is said that much of his inspiration about characters and the development of history came from those around him at the time.

-The Convent, where Doña Inés was. This is where she reads Don Juan’s letter and faints when she sees him. She was in Calle Calatrava.

-The cemetery, it seems that the Tenorio family had one of their own, outside the walls of Seville, in the place now occupied by the Argentine Pavilion of the 1929 Exhibition. When it was built, some tombstones appeared, one of them with the name of Don Juan Tenorio.

If you have the opportunity to read the book, or see the work, do not hesitate. It is an authentic enjoyment for the senses…