Texto completo

Escena: En Amalfi. La acción se supone a principios del Siglo XV. 



conde, gran mariscal

Da. Leonor de Castro



Duquesa de Amalfi, cásase con D. Pedro de Castilla

D. Pedro de Castilla

noble, secretario de Carlos


Duque de Capua, privado

Romero (Romerillo)

criado de D. Pedro, gracioso


Duque de Placencia

D. Vela


Vitoria (Vitorilla)

noble, hermana de Margarita, cásase con Carlos

P. anón.: criados (160a, acot. 2; R I, 1550a, acot. 1; 1437a, acot. 2: no hablan; 165a, acot. 2; 1562a, acot.; 1449b, acot.; no hablan).

 Todos son italianos menos don Pedro de Castilla, Romero, doña Leonor, y don Vela.


Próspero, the Duke of Capua, and Rugero, the Duke of Placencia, both want to marry Vitoria, sister of Margarita, the Duchess of Amalfi. Próspero has a letter from the king in his favor, while Rugero has one from the Duke of Milan. Margarita is almost jealous of her sister, with so many suitors, for in addition to the two already mentioned, Carlos, Count and Gran Mariscal of Naples, is also interested in Vitoria. In fact, Don Pedro has come as his messenger with a letter from him to Vitoria. Saying that Carlos has been greatly maligned, Vitoria lets her sister read his letter, but Margarita doubts that Carlos really wrote it because she doesn't think he is so discreto. Pedro's servant, Romero, then tells Margarita (without knowing who she is) that Pedro is from Spain, of royal blood, currently working as secretary to Carlos, and the person who wrote the letter to Vitoria. Confronted by Margarita, who informs him that she knows he is a grandson of Don Pedro, King of Spain, Pedro says he does not want his identity known; he has fled Spain because he was in trouble there. He loved a fickle woman who betrayed him by having an affair with another man who was supposed to be a friend of his. She knew of his love for her, and even gave him papers that he (Pedro) had entrusted to her. He denies, however that he wrote the note for Carlos. Later Carlos appears, but when he tries to talk to Vitoria he gets excited and ends up saying, "Dígalo mi secretario." 


Margarita is attracted to Pedro and finds herself very jealous of his love, Leonor, back in Spain. Romero arrives with a letter to Pedro from Leonor, saying that Don Vela, whom Pedro had wounded because of her, has died and that the King is angrily looking everywhere for Pedro, although the King's mother is trying to calm him down. Leonor sends her picture to Pedro, but Margarita bribes Romero not to say anything about the letter, which she keeps, along with the picture. Margarita then tells Pedro that she has received word that Vela did not die and that the King has married him (Vela) to Leonor. During the course of this conversation she accurately describes Leonor, much to Pedro's surprise, and says that she and Leonor are friends. To Margarita's suggestion that he is growing fond of Vitoria, Pedro responds that if he were writing to her (Vitoria) on Carlos's behalf he would think of Leonor. Margarita confesses that she is beginning to care for Carlos, although she had planned a religious life. Her present plan is to sharpen Carlos's wits by making him jealous of Vitoria, then she will win Carlos and Pedro can have Vitoria. To this end she convinces Pedro to pay a great deal of attention to Vitoria in order to make Carlos jealous. In the meantime, Pedro is to give Margarita all the notes that Vitoria writes to Carlos so that she (Margarita) can rewrite them. Margarita tells Pedro to look carefully at these messages that she sends to Carlos, for they will have one meaning for Carlos but that they will also carry a hidden meaning for Pedro.

Carlos is gaining more confidence and becoming more astute. Pedro tells him that now all he needs is to be jealous and his love will be complete, and he further adds that he himself will provide the jealousy for Carlos. Vitoria continues to scorn Próspero and Rugero, but he observes a remarkable change in Carlos, who now appears poised and clever. He attributes his metamorphosis to love and tells her that Pedro is going to make his love even better by making him jealous, which in turn will make his ingenio more subtle and him wiser.


Vitoria thinks that Pedro is beginning to care for her, and she for him. She learns all about Pedro's past from Romero, including the fact that Margarita was jealous of Leonor and that Pedro is attracted to Vitoria. During a conversation with Pedro, Vitoria intimates that he might really love her rather that just pretending in order to make Carlos jealous. She tells him that she knows his history and that he wrote the letters for Carlos. He admits that although he began his attentions to her at Margarita's request in order to make Carlos jealous, now he is sincere. They decide to let Carlos and Margarita marry, as will they. Victoria departs, and at this point Carlos appears, followed quickly by Margarita, both of whom have overheard the conversation between Pedro and Vitoria. Carlos denounces Pedro as a traitor. Pedro protests that he was only doing what Margarita and Carlos had asked of him. Margarita then orders Carlos to leave, which he does, saying that jealousy is not always such a good thing, even though it has made him more discreto.

Margarita remarks that Pedro is not so clever because he could not find the message for him in the letter she had him deliver to Carlos. Neither can he understand why Margarita told him that she loved Carlos and wanted Pedro to court Vitoria and then became jealous of Vitoria. He says to her "you make yourself jealous". She then shows him the hidden message in the letter to Carlos by taking the last past of each line of the letter, thus forming a new message to Pedro, saying that she loves him. Surprised, Pedro takes her hand, reasons that Carlos is now discreto and can marry Vitoria, asks her to forgive him, and kisses her hand. Vitoria enters just in time to see the kiss and is angry, but Margarita explains that he was only kissing her hand out of joy for having received permission to marry Vitoria. However, she makes mention of a guest in the house who might enter into the picture, explaining that Leonor has been staying there for over a month. It is for this reason that Margarita could describe her so accurately. Pedro's response to this news, "Ay hermosa Leonor mía," and his gratitude to her for leaving family and country to be with him angers Margarita, who reveals that she only made up the story about Leonor to get his reaction.

Shortly after this Carlos arrives, accompanied by Próspero and Rugero, with an order from King Fernando to arrest Pedro. Fernando is a friend of King Juan, the Spanish king, who thinks that Pedro has been plotting with the English to overthrow him. Margarita reacts to this piece of news by saying that if they take Pedro prisoner, she wants to die. Carlos, now discreto, finds a way to resolve the problem, however. He suggests that Margarita and Pedro marry and then he will be able to prove to the King that Pedro is not plotting with the English. Carlos then asks Vitoria to marry him, and she agrees. Romero is to continue to get a doubloon a day from Margarita, but with no threat of blows as before if he should talk. Carlos thus serves as an example of how love and jealousy can sharpen the wits and turn fools into clever discretos.


List of Plays

Lists of Characters