Escena:  En las inmediaciones de la venta de Viveros y en Madrid.



criado (de D. Fernando)

Andrés de Mondragón

vizcaíno, montañés, marido de "María de Orduña"

Da. Bernarda

viuda, dama, cásase con D. Fernando de Aragón

Catalina Becerra

categoría desconocida

D. Duarte de Noroña

hidalgo portugués

D. Fernando de Aragón


Ficallo, Condesa de

condesa portuguesa, nombre fingido de Da. Jusepa

D. Gómez

capitán, viejo perulero

Da. Inés Valdivieso


Da. Jusepa

dama, hermana de Da. Bernarda, cásase con D. Duarte de Noroña

D. Luis

caballero, sobrino de D. Gómez

María de Orduña

toquera, vizcaína, montañesa, nombre fingido de Mari-Ramírez



Da. Melchora



criado (de D. Luis)

Perico Rincón


Poleo Ramos



esclava (de Da. Bernarda), cásase con Santarén


gracioso, lacayo (de D. Duarte) portugués  


vejete, escudero (de D. Gómez), lacayo

P. anón.:  caminantes (hablan dentro vv.  11-19; v. 26); un estudiante (habla v. 38); un barbero (habla v. 475).


Doña Bernarda, a poor widow, and her sister Doña Jusepa are on their way from Guadalajara to Madrid, where Jusepa is soon to marry Don Gómez, a rich, seventy-year-old man from the New World.  She will receive a large amount of money from her new husband, and Bernarda, too, will get a tidy sum, which she plans to use as a dowry for herself.  Bernarda has raised Jusepa, their mother having died when Jusepa was born and their father also being dead.  They have an accident with their carriage, in which Bernarda is injured and rendered unconscious.  At this moment, Don Fernando comes along and helps to rescue Bernarda, carrying her to the nearby Inn of Viveros.  He is quite enamored of her.  He learns from Polonia, Bernarda's slave, the reason for their trip to Madrid.

In Madrid, Don Duarte has stopped at Mari-Ramírez's inn, right across the street from the house where Bernarda and Jusepa have been installed by Jusepa's husband-to-be. They are locked in with a hatch or torno, such as would be used in a convent for passing things in or out, their only contact with the outside world.  No one can enter, and they are permitted to leave only to attend mass in the mornings.

Meanwhile, Fernando arrives at the inn in Madrid and meets Duarte, an old friend.  He hears Polonia's voice and sees Bernarda entering the house across the street.  He learns that she still feels ill as a result of the accident and wants to be bled, so he goes disguised as a barber to see her.  Don Luis, Don Gómez's nephew, who also loves Jusepa, is jealous and has come to try to win her over before she marries his uncle.  He sees Fernando, who is dressed as a barber, and Santillana, his uncle's squire who is taking care of the sisters, go into the house.  He then meets the real barber, who says that someone bribed his assistant to get his instruments and is posing as a barber.  Fernando comes out of the house and manages to get away when Luis tries to stop him.  Bernarda then appears to investigate the noise and is told by Luis that he knows that the barber who entered her house was a fraud and threatens to tell his uncle that Jusepa has a lover. Bernarda questions Santillana, who claims that he brought the real barber, and tells him to bring the barber again the next morning.  At the inn, Fernando tells Duarte, Mari-Ramírez and Santarén of his love for Bernarda, how a lackey told him the history of the sisters (although in fact it was Polonia who gave him this information) and of how he bribed the lackey to let him know where they would be in Madrid.  By coincidence he stopped at the inn and saw them entering the house before the lackey could fulfill his promise, however.  The others all offer to help him to win Bernarda.  He tells of touching her bare arm when he was disguised as a barber, but could not bleed her and so told her that he did not have permission to bleed her.


Bernarda and Jusepa have gone to church early in the morning, followed by Duarte, who wants to see Fernando's love.  While returning home Jusepa stumbled and was aided by Duarte, who saw her face when the wind lifted her veil.  They were immediately attracted to each other.  Bernarda ordered him away and now, at home, is chastising Jusepa for paying attention to him.  Santillana confesses to Bernarda that he has learned from the real barber that the one he brought was an imposter, so Bernarda sends him to get the address of the man who pretended to be the barber.  Disguised as a vendor of headdresses, Mari-Ramírez comes and leaves a note for Bernarda from Bernardo, saying that it is a bill.  The gate is left unlocked after Mari-Ramírez, and Santarén, dressed as a notions dealer, leaves a box of jewels in the hatch for Jusepa.  Duarte also sends her a sonnet written in Portuguese.  Duarte is telling Fernando the story of his meeting with Jusepa when Santarén interrupts to ask Duarte to come to the hatch, where Jusepa and Polonia are waiting.  Duarte and Jusepa talk, and Duarte calls Fernando to vouch for his honor and nobility.  Before Fernando arrives, however, Polonia and Jusepa have withdrawn because Bernarda is coming, thinking that Mari-Ramírez is back.  Quickly grasping the situation, Bernarda pretends to be Jusepa, and talks to Fernando, who praises Duarte's good and noble qualities.  She says that Bernarda is about to marry Luis and then she orders the doors opened, whereupon Jusepa and Polonia enter through one door and the men through another.  Angry at being deceived, Bernarda tells them she knows everything, and insists that Jusepa will marry Don Gómez, who is to arrive in a day or two.


Told by Bernarda that Luis has gone to tell his uncle about the false barber, Jusepa denies that she had anything to do with that. Meanwhile, Bernarda is interested in Fernando, but she does not want to lose the money that Don Gómez is to give her.  Santillana makes Bernarda jealous, telling her that Fernando is talking to another woman at the inn.  She goes to check and finds Doña Melchora there.  Melchora is indignant because Fernando has not looked her up; he explains that he lost the letter with her new address.  Melchora leaves and Bernarda, who has been veiled, reveals who she is.  She tells Duarte and Fernando that they must not bother her and Jusepa anymore, for she is to marry Luis and Jusepa is to marry Don Gómez.  She does, however, tell them not to move to another inn, because she wants to keep an eye on them.  After her departure, Duarte tells Fernando that she likes him or she would not have come.

Santarén brings them the news that when he went to the basement of the inn for some water he heard Polonia's voice on the other side of the wall.  He and Mari-Ramírez then knocked a hole in the wall so that they could go into the house where Bernarda and Jusepa are staying.  Polonia has now gone to get Jusepa, so that she and Duarte can meet.  In the meantime, Bernarda is unhappy, wishing she had told Fernando that she cares for him.  She decides to go to church to make a novena, and takes Polonia with her, leaving Jusepa locked up.  Polonia, however, has told Jusepa to go to Duarte by means of the hole in the basement wall.  Then Santarén comes to get Jusepa and convinces her to go.  He says that Duarte wants to marry her and that he (Duarte) has a Portuguese dress for his sister that Jusepa can wear as a disguise.

Alvarado, who has followed Bernarda to church, returns to the inn to inform those there that Bernarda is, indeed, in church.  Santarén returns, announces the arrival of Jusepa, and goes off to continue the vigil of Bernarda.  Jusepa, dressed in the Portuguese gown, enters, accompanied by Duarte.  They tell the others that they are betrothed.  At this point, Bernarda, who has evaded Santarén, appears.  She recognizes Jusepa, but the latter pretends to be the Condesa de Ficallo, a "Portuguese."  Polonia observes that the "Condesa's" face is shaped different from Jusepa's.  Upset, Bernarda leaves thinking that she has been tricked or is crazy.

Jusepa, meanwhile, hurries back to her house, takes up her embroidery, and gives the appearance of having been there all along when Bernarda and Polonia arrive.  Bernarda still cannot believe that Jusepa is there.  Santillana informs them that Don Gómez has arrived and will call on them the next day, to which Jusepa says that her betrothed is closer than the inn where Don Gómez is and that she cannot marry the latter because she is already married.

Duarte, Fernando, Santarén and Mari-Ramírez appear and verify that Duarte is Jusepa's husband.  Bernarda realizes that she was right in the first place in thinking that Jusepa was the Portuguese woman.  Duarte intercedes with Bernarda on Fernando's behalf, promising that Fernando loves her, wants to marry her, and will give her ten thousand ducats as a dowry.  All the others join his plea, and Bernarda agrees to marry Fernando, saying she could not be so impolite as to refuse so many requests.  Bernarda tells Santillana to wait until the following day to inform Don Gómez that his wedding with Jusepa has been called off.  Polonia is freed, and she and Santarén are to marry.  Mari-Ramírez receives a gold chain from Duarte as the play ends.


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