11 Pages

Parody, Poverty and the Lazarillo de Tormes

ByPilar del Carmen Tirado

T he choice of the name of Lázaro for the protagonist of the Lazarillo de Tormes is regularly associated with two separate references from the Bible: the man Christ resurrected from the dead (John 12: 1–44), and the beggar at a rich man’s table (Luke 16: 19–31). Although scholars place greater emphasis on the picaresque protagonist’s connection to the latter, few critics have examined how that Scriptural reference is integrated into the work as a whole. By tracing the extent of the intertext, this study identifies an extensive parody of the Biblical passage and then considers the pragmatics of that parody’s reception within a contemporaneous socio-political and religious context. In the process, I show that the parodie linkage of the literal and pragmatic aspects of Luke 16: 19–31 reveals in the Lazarillo an unmistakable critical response to the changing status of poverty and the controversial issues associated with it.