24 Pages

The Crowd in Theater and the Crowd in History: Fuenteovejuna

ByAngus MacKay, Geraldine McKendrick

Lope de vega’s play Fuenteovejuna, dating from the early seventeenth century and based on real events which took place in 1476, presents us with the image of a justified and exemplary rebellion by the oppressed against their tyrannical lord. 1 It is this image, coupled with other features of the drama, which no doubt accounts for the enduring attraction of the play over the years. Basically, the plot tells the story of a group hero, the decent people of Fuenteovejuna, who, goaded by the barbaric treatment inflicted on them by their lord, the comendador mayor of the military Order of Calatrava, Fernán óómez de Guzman, rose up in a “peasant fury” one April night, stormed the house of the comendador, and, after a fierce conflict, savaged him to death.