Don Juan , fictitious character who is a symbol of libertinism. The legend of Don Juan tells how, at the height of his licentious career, he seduced a girl of noble family and killed her father, who had tried to avenge her. In the end he refuses to repent and is eternally damned. In the 17th century the Don Juan story became known to strolling Italian players, some of whom traveled to France with this theme in their repertoire of pantomime , and by the 19th century many versions of the Don Juan legend existed. Print Cite. Facebook Twitter. Give Feedback External Websites.
By Lord Byron
All of these plays share serious overtones and vile Don Juan protagonists, which highly contrasts with the light-hearted treatment of the Don Juan story that was predominant in England and France through the nineteenth century. This paper explains how the initially tragic Don Juan came to be a favourite for light onstage entertainment b etween the years and on both sides of the Channel. Critical narratives on the development of genres that are characteristic of the nineteenth century cannot avoid an honest acknowledgement of the complexity of the web of influences that are integral to the formation and establishment of such genres. Suffice it to remember Michael R.
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Famous versions of the story include a 17th-century play, El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest by Tirso de Molina , and an opera, Don Giovanni , with music by Mozart and a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. By linguistic extension from the name of the character, "Don Juan" has become a generic expression for a womanizer , and stemming from this, Don Juanism is a non-clinical psychiatric descriptor. There have been many versions of the Don Juan story, but the basic outline remains the same: Don Juan is a wealthy libertine who devotes his life to seducing women. He takes great pride in his ability to seduce women of all ages and stations in life, and he often disguises himself and assumes other identities in order to seduce women. This is his way of indicating that he is young and that death is still distant — he thinks he has plenty of time to repent later for his sins. This murder leads to the famous "last supper" scene, where Don Juan invites a statue of Don Gonzalo to dinner. There are different versions of the outcome: in some versions Don Juan dies, having been denied salvation by God; in other versions he willingly goes to Hell , having refused to repent; in some versions Don Juan asks for and receives a divine pardon. In Tirso de Molina's version Don Juan is portrayed as an evil man who seduces women thanks to his ability to manipulate language and disguise his appearance. This is a demonic attribute, since the devil is known for shape-shifting or taking other peoples' forms. Tirso felt that young people were throwing their lives away, because they believed that as long as they made an Act of Contrition before they died, they would automatically receive God's forgiveness for all the wrongs they had done, and enter into heaven.