Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Núria Silleras-Fernández

Second Advisor

John Slater

Third Advisor

Andrés Prieto

Fourth Advisor

Juan Herrero-Senés

Fifth Advisor

David Glimp


This project analyzes a long-neglected dimension of Early Modern Peninsular Studies: court theater. My thesis explores theoretical, political, and scenographic frameworks of court drama written for and produced in the court of Carlos II of Spain. I explore the notions of imagined communities and agency in order to understand how the theater functioned within the Habsburg court, and I juxtapose the role of the king as a spectator to that of the individual consumer of the public theater to confirm it is possible not to identify as part of the mass public during theater consumption. From there, my archival research exposes the political conflicts during the 1670s between Queen Regent Mariana of Austria and her illegitimate step-son, Don Juan José, as their opposing factions vied to dominate the terrain of courtly politics in Madrid. My research investigates how these tensions were reflected in the 1670s works: La estatua de Prometeo and Fieras afemina amor by Pedro Calderón de la Barca. This then led me to consider the political anxieties around the topic of succession in the 1690s as well. I illustrate that Francisco Antonio de Bances Candamo’s political trilogy offered viable options for an heir through his presentation of what I term the nephew-king paradigm. My research illustrates how politics and royal theater production in the 1670s and 1690s were linked due to theater’s status as a facet of the royal Baroque identity. My project concludes by establishing court drama as its own genre through an investigation of court performance, the scenographic advancement, and the musical evolution in Baroque Spanish court drama—a highly original artistic genre in seventeenth-century Spain. I establish staged performance as malleable and trans-dynastic as it outlasts the performance of the monarchs for which the work was staged. Ultimately, this project proves that theater is a part of royal Baroque Spanish identity.