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Escena: En Milán y extramuros. Todos son italianos.





Marqués de Monferrato


Duque de Milán


dama, prima de Sirena


lacayo (de César), criado, gracioso

Marco Antonio



Condesa de Valencia del Po, prima de Vitoria, cásase con Alejandro


Marquesa del Final, cásase con César



P. anón.: una cortesana (habla 368c; R II, 1344a); acompañamiento (368c, acot. 7; 1344a, acot. 4; no habla); un quintero (habla 375a, 1359a); dos criados (375a, acot.; 1359a, acot.; no hablan); un paje (habla 379b; 1370a).

Todos son italianos.


Carlos reprimands César for not having confided in him about his new love. He reminds César that he has always told him all about Vitoria. At first César refuses to tell Carlos anything, but he finally relents and agrees to tell everything but the lady's name. He explains how he met a lovely lady at a party given by his brother, the Duke, and fell in love with her, although she was with someone else. During the course of this story he mentions that word "sirena" and Carlos guesses that Sirena is the lady in question. César makes him promise to say nothing, because he will lose Sirena if Carlos mentions this. After Carlos departs, Sirena and Diana enter, and Sirena informs César that he can't be both her lover and Carlos's friend because she does not like Carlos; César, therefore, will have to choose between them. This ultimatum leaves César very upset.

César's nephew, the Duke of Milan dies, leaving César heir to the title. César states to Carlos that his new rank will make no difference in their friendship, that their relationship will continue as always. Meanwhile, Sirena has learned about César's change of status and, fearful that his new title will make him spurn her, she decides to make him jealous with Marco Antonio, who is something of a fool. She gives Marco Antonio a band of diamonds in a scene witnessed by César's lackey, Gascón, who thinks that Sirena would do better with him than with Marco Antonio.


César is concerned that Sirena may not love him and that he is not a duke. He believes that women are fickle, and when Gascón tells him how Sirena gave the band of diamonds to Marco Antonio and that he kissed her hand, César is convinced that his suspicions are true and that Sirena no longer loves him. He decides that since Sirena likes Marco Antonio so much he will arrange for their marriage. When Carlos suggests that Sirena is merely trying to make César jealous, César decides that this is so and that he will repay her by courting someone else in order to make her jealous. "Jealousy is cured by jealousy," he says. Carlos recommends Narcisa as a subject for César's affections for this purpose. Narcisa, however, is in love with Alejandro, and when César explains his plan to her she is unwilling to go along at first. César is able to convince her that it will only be for a short time, so she agrees, but with the proviso that her lover know nothing of this. Although she will not tell César who her lover is, Alejandro appears and quickly shows himself to be jealous of César's attentions to Narcisa, and César guesses that he is her love. Shortly thereafter Sirena and Diana come to visit Narcisa, and when Sirena finds that César is there and is being very attentive to Narcisa, she becomes jealous. Diana tells her that her little game of jealousy may prove to be costly.


Narcisa and Sirena argue over which one of them César really loves. Sirena claims that his attentions to Narcisa were only to make her (Sirena) jealous. Gascón tells them that César is coming, and Sirena orders that Gascón be locked up so that she and Narcisa can find out whom César loves. Sirena proposes to hide when César arrives so she can watch the conversation between Narcisa and César.

By now, prompted by his jealousy of Alejandro, César has begun to care for Narcisa, and Narcisa, in turn, has begun to like César because she is jealous of Sirena. As they talk, César tells Narcisa that although at first he only pretended to love her to make Sirena jealous, he is now serious; he truly loves her. When she responds in kind they pledge themselves to each other. Now Sirena jumps out from her hiding place and full of jealousy and anger says she only pretended to like Marco Antonio to make César jealous, but César tells her it is too late now. Alejandro enters dressed as a gardener and, despondent, says he has listened to the conversation between Narcisa and César. Then enters Marco Antonio, and his presence along with that of Alejandro arouses new jealousies in César and he is again undecided between the two women.

Sirena decides that the best course of action is for her to marry Marco Antonio as a way to getting back at César, even though it will hurt her more than it will him. However, Alejandro comes along and the two of them plan to feign love for each other in order to make Narcisa and César jealous, for as Alejandro points out "Jealousy is cured by jealousy."

Marco Antonio asks Narcisa to intercede for him with César to bring out his marriage to Sirena. Narcisa tells César that Sirena loves Marco Antonio and that they should wed. At this point a page announces Sirena's arrival and César hides to listen to what she says. Sirena is accompanied by Alejandro. The two of them have found each other; they were both scorned but now they have consolation in their love. When Narcisa mentions Marco Antonio's petition, Sirena replies that she only used him to make César jealous. Sirena and Alejandro then give each other their hands, but Narcisa interrupts, saying this decision is too hasty and is only the result of jealousy. Alejandro and Sirena, however, insist that they are sure. César comes out of his hiding place, and he and Narcisa admit that they do not love each other. All of the mix-ups are then resolved, with the two pairs of lovers -- César and Sirena, and Alejandro and Narcisa -- marrying. Sirena accepts Carlos as a friend, Gascón is released from his imprisonment, and only Marco Antonio is left out. Thus the audience can see that jealousy is indeed cured by jealousy.


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