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caballero-criado (sirve al Conde)




gracioso, criado de D. Juan, preso

Elena Coronel

Condesa de Belrosal, cásase con D. Juan


criada de Elena

D. Jaime

Conde de Urgel, Infante de Urgel, virrey, gobernador, ¿traidor?

Da. Josefa de Luna

Marquesa de Luna

D. Juan de Urrea

noble, preso 

D. Juan Jiménez así llama el Conde a D. Juan de Urrea

P. anón.: un paje (habla 337a; R III, 1416b; ¿el mismo habla 339b; 1420a?); escuderos (340b, acot. 2; 1421b, acot. 2; no hablan; ¿los mismos 347a, acot. 2; 1430a, acot. 2? no hablan); un carcelero (habla 345a, 1427a).


Elena and Juan are in love with each other, but he feels unworthy of her because his family is out of favor with King Pedro IV.  She reassures him that this makes no difference to her because she loves him anyway.  That night there is to be presented a play written by Juan I of Aragón, and Juan asks Elena to go with him to the performance.  She refuses, however, because she thinks he really does not want her to go for he is jealous of the attentions other men would give her.

Juan's protector, the Count of Urgel, and Josefa confide to Elena that the Count asked her not to go to the play that night because he is jealous of the King.  She plans to go, veiled, however, to meet Juan, whom she loves.  Upon hearing all of this Elena becomes extremely jealous and goes to the play herself, also veiled.  At the play the Count tells Juan that he does not expect to enjoy the play since he could not talk Josefa into coming.  Elena, with her face hidden by her cloak, now pulls the Count aside to tell him that he should watch his companions, for Josefina is coming, veiled, to meet one of them.  The Count sees Elena's hand and finds her very attractive.  They go into the theater together.  Juan, meanwhile, is still outside, debating about going to see Elena, when Elena's servant Engracia passes by, having taken off her manto because of the heat.  Questioned by Juan, she tells him that Elena is jealous because she has heard that he is to meet a lady, so she sent Engracia to search for him.  He denies that this is true and gives her a ring to give to Elena as assurance of his love.  Josefa, veiled, comes by and talks to Juan who does not recognize her.  Soon Elena and the Count come out, and she points out Juan as the man who is flirting with Josefa.  Elena then uncovers her face so that Juan can see her, but the Count also recognizes her.  The Count is called away, whereupon he asks Juan to detain Elena until his return, because he finds her very attractive.  Left alone, Elena and Juan complain to each other of unfaithfulness and each is jealous of the other.  Finally Juan announces his intention of going away and leaves the scene.  At this moment the Count returns and Elena implores him to send his squires to take Juan prisoner so he cannot leave, because she is in love with him.


The Count is holding Juan prisoner and threatens to kill him if he does not marry Josefa.  Juan, however, has made a deal with the jailor and is able to sneak away to see Elena.  They decide they are in love and pledge themselves to each other, and she reveals to him that she has a plot to get them out of their difficulties.  Josefa, meanwhile, chides the Count for being too violent, but he declares that Juan, because he has plotted against the King, deserves no better. At this point Beltrán, the jailor, comes and gives the Count a letter written by Elena imploring him to help Juan escape with her by getting them out of Aragón and into Navarra.  Beltrán swears his loyalty to the Count, however, and does not want to take part in the scheme.  Josefa then suggests a counter-plot:  that she pose as Elena and then later she can tell Juan that Elena fled out of fear but that she (Josefa) will marry Juan.  The Count can then say he will pardon Juan if he marries Josefa.  This plan will have the advantage of leaving Elena free for the Count.

They implement this plan to the extent that Josefa takes Elena's place, and posing as Elena she urges him not to run away but to think of his reputation and stay and marry Josefa.  He accuses her of being fickle, after just having said that she was his intended.  Josefa becomes angry and calls for a light, whereupon he sees who she is. Engracia and Buñol, Juan's servant, advise him to pretend to like Josefa, and that they will protect him by saying he was forced into this situation.  He decides to follow their counsel.  Just then Elena arrives, unnoticed, she is confused because the Count had sent her away when he was angry and jealous because of Juan and now he is having her return with much courtesy and politeness.  She overhears Juan accepting Josefa's favors.  The Count arrives and decrees that Juan will die the next day because of his treachery, but Josefa begs the Count to forgive Juan and let him marry her, to which the Count and Juan agree.  Elena now makes her presence known and Juan, crying out that she is loyal one, while he is untrue, pulls out his sword and the two of them escape together.  The Count sends his men after them.


The Count has ordered Alonso to kill Juan and to have two witnesses to the death.  Alonso, however, is a friend of Juan, so he plans to have two relatives serve as witnesses and take back Juan's bloody clothes, but without actually killing Juan.  Elena, meanwhile, is poor, because the Count has taken away all of her possessions, and she is supporting herself by embroidering. Engracia does not find their new way of life very much to her liking.

Juan, dressed as a peasant after having been set free by Alonso, approaches and sees that Elena has a full-length portrait of him hanging over the door.  He then sees her take a paper from some things that Engracia has brought to her.  The paper is a note to Elena from the Count.  Elena tears the note into four pieces, without reading it, then decides to read it, so picks up the pieces and reads the note.  Finding the content of the message displeasing, she tears it up again.  The note has told her that she can save Juan by seeing the Count that night.  Seeing her tear up the note for the second time, Juan thinks to himself as he departs that she is true constancy in beauty (la firmeza en la hermosura).  Now Josefa, who is feeling sorry for Elena, comes with the news that Juan is dead and the promises of the Count are false.  She offers to help Elena with the King, who is returning, and with money.

Elena remains loyal to Juan, discussing her problems with his portrait over the door.  Juan meets Buñol, whom he reprimands for having stayed in the Count's household.  Buñol gives Juan his cape and sword, and Juan is to go see Elena.  Buñol promises to wait for the Count, who is also on his way to Elena's, according to Buñol.  Engracia, who thinks that they will be better off after the Count enters and Elena accepts him, mistakes Juan for the Count in the dark and tells him that Elena is waiting.  Juan, of course, is now upset, thinking that Elena is not true.

In the meantime, the Count is beginning to regret having had Juan killed so soon, thinking that he acted in haste.  He arrives at Elena's, looking for Engracia and believing that Elena will love him now, just as Juan, furious, plans to avenge his honor, while Elena is awaiting the Count with a pistol in her hand.  Juan enters Elena's room, pretending to be the Count, and she pretends to accept him but then aims her pistol at his heart, while he pulls out his dagger.  They ward off each other's weapons, however, and Buñol quickly appears with a light and announces the arrival of the Count.  Happy to find Juan alive, Elena goes with him into the adjoining room.  The Count enters and is about to go into the room where the lovers are when Juan's portrait falls from the wall and blocks the doorway.  Juan then appears in the other door and the Count is overcome.  Alonso and Beltrán arrive bringing the news that the King has returned and is displeased at what people are saying about the Count's treatment of them.  The Count is now full of remorse for his actions. Alonso explains that Juan is not really dead, which relieves the Count greatly.

In the end Juan and Elena marry, of course, Josefa announces her decision not to marry, the happy Count is now going to be a noble and honorable person once more, and Buñol informs Engracia that -- contrary to custom -- he does not intend to marry her, so that this drama will not end with everyone's getting married.


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