Could women act on stage in Lope´s time?

Yes, and Lope de Vega created the best female roles in Golden Age theater, women who were interpreted by actresses or “comediennes” on the stages of the corralas. Fearless and determined, the women in Lope de Vega’s works dress as men or travel disguised as housemaids, breaking the legal rules and social impositions, they are willing to do whatever it takes to get what they are looking for, just like the men. Some of these groundbreaking characters appear in El perro del hortelano, where the main character not only chooses the man she will marry, but also chooses him from among her employees; or in Fuenteovejuna, where Laurencia harangues the frightened men so that the rape she was subjected to does not go unpunished. In La moza de cántaro, Doña María abandons her house to become a housemaid and avenge a family affront, and in La serrana de la vera, Gila renounces her ranch and its comforts to remedy a masculine humiliation and becomes a bandit, and with that, the mistress of her own life.

Contrary to what happened in England, the presence of women was very relevant in the theater in Spain. Although in the 16th and 17th century women were not considered legal subjects, they knew how to get around the difficulties and were able to insert themselves into the universal theater as authors of plays, actresses and even business women.

Jerónima de Burgos, Francisca Baltasara –better known as 'La Baltasara'-, Bárbara Coronel, Jusepa Vaca, Micaela Fernández, María de Navas, Francisca Vallejo, Ana Muñoz, Juana de Villalba and the authors María de Zayas and Ana Caro de Mallén are some of the women who make up part of the Golden Age’s theater.

Back to quiz


Su madre fue Francisca Fernández Flórez y su padre Félix de Vega Carpio, maestro bordador, ambos procedían de las montañas de Cantabria.

Lope tuvo cuatro hermanos: Francisco, Juliana, Luisa y Juan. El poeta pasó parte de su infancia en casa de su tío, don Miguel de Carpio, Inquisidor de Sevilla.