Francisco de Quevedo was among the most famous poet and writers in Spain during the Golden Age. He was born in Madrid where his family formed the government. He lost his parents at an early age .He joined Alcala University where he studied humanities as well as theology in Valladolid. Quevedo learned many modern languages including Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.
At the age of 25 years, he published his first poem. El Buscon novel is among the most famous works of Quevedo. The novel was written in 1604 and published later in 1626.The book was however published out of Quevedos knowledge. El Buscon is a picaresque novel.
These are fiction novels, which use satire in representation of ideas. In this case, the author is usually humorous through exaggeration of ideas. In these novels, characters use their wit so that they can survive in the society, which is usually corrupt. This style of writing novels is widely used by writers in the modern literature. The style is very important because it makes literature works interesting. Satire is a stylistic device in which the author uses irony or exaggerations in expressing ideas. Satire has played a major role in writing this novel. The paper shows how satire is used in the novel and how it helps in the development of the plot of the story.
The novel El Buston revolves around the adventures of Don Pablos who is described as a buscon. This individual uses unfair means like cheating and stealing in order to obtain money or properties. Two things that Pablos wanted to achieve in life were that he wanted to grow as a person as well as learning good morals but he never achieved any. Even though the novel satirizes Spanish life, it acted as a literary exercise for Quevedo who represented the different characteristics of these people but with exaggerations, which produced a comic effect. The novel profound the notion that children from honorable parents should be honored and never those whose parents are not .The author of the novel satirizes the Spanish society. He also attacks the main character in the story Pablos, a character who always struggles to achieve a higher position. Quevedo is against the idea of moving from one class to another because to him, it is a way of creating disorder in the society.
Quivedo punished Pablos because of his attempts to be better placed. Pablos has believed that all human beings were equal. The book is very important because it portrays many aspects of the society. Through the novel, we learn more about a thief. The book is divided into three main parts. Several themes are clearly portrayed in the novel, for example, the theme of family as well as legal and lawless cruelty. As the story begins, Pablos is a child whereas his father Clemente Pablos is a thief and a barber. Aldonza, Pablos’ mother is portrayed as a witch and a prostitute.
We learn through Pablos that his mother was a new Christian convert. Pablos had a brother who had been flogged to death in prison, as he was a thief. The characters in the story are satirized. For example, being a barber, we do not expect Pablos’ father to be a thief. He has a right way of earning his living. The character of the mother is also satirized because as a new Christian convert, she should not engage in prostitution.
Witchcraft is too not advocated for in the Christian life. Pablos was interested in studies and his parents allowed him to enroll in a school. Don Diego Coronel was Pablos’ best friend at school. He is faced with many challenges at school after which he decides to stop schooling. He decides not to go back home again. Don Diego remains to be his best friend and he too leaves school. Don Alanso, the father of Diego decides to hand over the two boys as wards to Dominle Cabra in Segovia. Pablos and Diego suffer a lot in the hands of Cabra especially lack of enough food.
The death of one boy due to starvation made Alanso to shift the boys from that school to Alcala to continue with their studies. As Alanso, Diego and Pablos travelled to Alcala, they came across a group of students who mocked Pablos. After the three arrived at Alacala, Pablos was separated from Don Diego and beaten up by some University students because he was not a person enough. Pablos shared his room with four other students who also beat him up during the night. Not being a person is not enough for one to be beaten up. It is ironical because he does not defend himself. His reaction is funny because he kills pigs, which he does not own. He holds a party in which he tricks his property owner into giving two chickens in exchange.
This is satirical because the value of a pig can never be equivalent to that of a chicken. Among the bad habits included stealing sweets from a merchant in the locality as well as swords. His friends laugh at him, because of the things that he does. The author exaggerates his characters because a sweet is a minor thing to be stolen from a merchant. Pablos should have stolen things of greater value.
During their stay in Alcala, Pablos got a letter, which informed him of the death of his father who had been hanged. The letter also indicated that his mother was in jail. Don Diego also received a letter from his father who warned him against his friendship with the Pablos. The friendship between Pablos and Don Diego ends.
Pablos arranges to meet with one of his relatives who would arrange for Pablos inheritance of his fathers wealth who was already dead. The way in which the above problems occur to Pablos is satirical. His father is hanged, his mother is in jail and his best friend leaves him. It is not possible that all of these took place at the same time. As he travelled to Segovia to claim his properties, he came across an insane engineer. They discussed many topics with the engineer. They went to an inn where he met with a teacher who tried to teach him a lesson. It is satirical that the characters that Pablos interacted with were mad.
Does it mean that he did not come across mentally fit persons who he could share with what he had? On their arrival to Cercedilla, they played cards where Hermit tricked them and ended up as the winner of all the games that they played. On arrival to Segovia, he met with Alanso Ramplomn his uncle. People celebrate in his uncle’s house at a great dinner where they ate and drunk. Pablos is however not involved in the party. As people enjoy, he moves around the compound. He returns to the house and drives away all the people present in the party except his uncle who was supposed to discuss the issue of inheritance. It is funny that Pablos decided to drive his uncles visitors away and they did nothing wrong to him and his uncle does not seem to question him. The man who claims to be a person teaches Pablos of the expected behavior in court.
He taught him lying techniques as well as some of the ways in which he could take advantage of other people in some situations. The main aim of the alleged hidalgo was to pass knowledge to Pablos on the way in which he could use unfair means in obtaining other peoples properties or even take advantage of other people in particular situations. Pablos is displayed as a character whose character traits are not acceptable in the society. Being corrupt is a vice discouraged by all societies. Pablos and the alleged person visited Don Toribio in his house.
Don Torobio is another man who claims to be a man. In this house, Pablos met with deceitful and unreliable people like thieves and gangsters. Pablos is dressed in tattered clothes, which makes his appearance funny bearing in mind that he is one person who intends to be a gentleman. Pablos was arrested and taken to the prison together with the friends he met at Toribios house.
At the jail, Pablos befriended a jailer through whom he is not flogged. When Pablos told the jailer that he is related to his wife, he accepted and helped him. Does it mean that he is not aware of his wife’s relatives? “Pablos changed his name to Ramilo de Guzman and went to an inn where he pretended to be a rich man with the aim of winning Berenguela de Rebolledo, a daughter of the innkeeper.” He succeeded in his lies and Berenguela allowed him to visit her during the night. She told him climb at the top of the roof so that he can enter her room without other people’s awareness. The roof collapsed as he tried to enter the room after which the innkeepers wake up, beat him up and finally throw him to jail again.
It is very difficult to access a room through the roof. As he was in jail, he suffered a lot as he was beaten up until two men one from Portugal and the other one from Catalonia saved him. Again, he changes his name to Don Felipe Tristan. Villa is the residence of the two rich women.
One of the women has three married nieces and she wants Pablos to marry one of them. Pablos falls in love with Dona Ana the most beautiful girl of the three. During Pablos’ picnic with Dona Ana, they came across Don Diego who recognizes Pablos at the first sight.
Pablos does not however recognize him. Pablos stays behind until he changes to his new begging career. In his begging career, Pablos met with Valcazar a beggar who introduced him to the world of begging. He used the money he obtained from begging to buy new clothes. In addition, he bought a hat and a sword. He then migrated to Toledo where people did not know him. In Toledo, he joined comedic actors where he worked as a scriptwriter.
He was also a poet in Toledo. At this place, his new name was Alanso el Cruel. Unfortunately, the arrest of the group leader by the police led to the disintegration of the group. Pablos leaves the acting career and falls in love with a nun. Finally, Pablos travels to Seville and joins a group of gangsters. The gangsters went out, drunk and ate together so that they lost control over their behavior.
Pablos and the other thieves were fortunate as they managed to escape. It is satirical that Pablos and the other gangsters managed to escape from the police bearing in mind that they were intoxicated and therefore they did not have control on themselves. After this, they travelled to Indies to see if there will be any positive change in their lives. We however learn through Pablos that life was even harder for him in America.
Satire is a very useful stylistic device. The use of satire makes works interesting such that individual feel like they should continue reading. As people read satirize works, they laugh and all their attention is drawn into what they are reading. For example, the reader of this novel will be interested to know the reason behind Pablos’ change of names.
In many cases, people who change their names so that they cannot be recognized usually have bad motives. The stages through which Pablos passes are satirized. He moves from being a beggar, scriptwriter and a poet, falls in love with a nun and finally joins a group of gangsters. In each stage, he changed his names.
The novel is full of characters that are not morally upright. We have weared characters in the novel like witches and thieves who are not acceptable in many societies. Satire is used in development of the plot of the story. BibliographyBarnstone, W.
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P. 45. Barnstone, W. (1997). Six Masters of the Spanish Sonnet: Francisco de Quevedo, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Antonio Machado, Federico Garcia Lorca, Jorge Luis Borges, Miguel Hernandez. New York: SIU Press. P. 70.
Quevedo, F. (1610). El Buscon, Francisco de Quevedo Villegas (1580–1645), Filologia, 9, pp. 163–200. Quevedo, F. (1610).
El Buscon, Francisco de Quevedo Villegas (1580–1645), Filologia, 9, pp. 163–200. Cruz, A. (1999). Discourses of poverty: social reform and the picaresque novel in early modern Spain. New York, NY: University of Toronto Press.
P. 115. Ibid. p. 120.
Dunn, P. (1993). Spanish picaresque fiction: a new literary history. London: Cornell University Press.