chapter  4
16 Pages

Cervantes’ Algerian Swan Song

The Birth of Los baños de Argel and Its Positive Portrayal of Jews
WithMichael Ross Gordon

Although Cervantes is best known today for Don Quixote, he always felt the strongest connection to his theatrical works relating to Muslim Algiers, where he spent five and a half years as a captive. The inclusion of scenes of Jewish persecution in these Algerian captivity plays provided comic relief, yet they also unintentionally brought Jews back to Spain. Although critics utilize such scenes to demonstrate the strong anti-Jewish sentiments present in Golden Age comedies, their inclusion not only places these works more in line with historical reality, but also serves to present Jews in a favorable light.