Note: This assignment is not yet complete. As the group members conduct more research we will go in and add to this in more detail before it is due.
1. Based on what you've read, what contextual information must your group necessarily communicate to the class in order to help us better understand the theatrical material you plan to discuss? The story and main themes of the play, Life is a Dream. The time span of the Spanish Golden Age and the specific moment in time that we are researching, 1630s - end. Important people in politics, the arts and literature, and religion.
2. How does your topic express the philosophies, ideologies, political circumstances, and/or social movements occurring in the specific time and place you are investigating? The autos sacrementales plays expressed a surging interest in the mystical, explaining the unexplainable, and finding hidden meaning in symbols. Carly will be researching criticisms of Calderon's work; she has just located a critique written by Voltaire and will continue to research this topic. Calderon was raised in a family of means, suggesting that he was one of the upper class who created theatre. The Habsburg family was a major power in the Holy Roman empire and religious fervor was abundant; this directly conflicts with the new emerging interest in the idea that the Earth might not be the center of the universe. People's understanding of their place in the universe was changing from an older order of religion to a new age of scholarly thinking. Also, Rebecca is working on how Calderon was influenced by Elizabethan Shakespeare, specifically Shakespeare. Although Calderon is Shakespeare's contemporary, he alludes to multiple themes from Shakespeare's work- woman dressed as men, the idea of the supernatural, the themes of forgiveness. This shows an outside influence on his work./strong>
3. Given that you only have 20 minutes to present, what big ideas/contextual elements will you have to leave out? We should leave out anything that we cannot directly connect back to a theme or idea we see reflected in Calderon and his works, particularly in Life is a Dream. In our research and note taking we should write down what we find in our readings, then immediately located textual evidence either in the play, or in a writing about Calderon, to go with that newfound knowledge.