Abstract

Marta la Romarantina, a comedia de magia (magic play) by the eighteenth century playwright José de Cañizares, engages popular beliefs in demonic possession. The play centers on the internal conflicts of the protagonist, based on a historical figure. However, the playwright goes beyond a historical depiction, taking advantage of the comedia de magia’s innate emphasis on visual and aural elements to suggest the sensual possibilities of possession, real or imagined. This discussion of the play focuses on the manifestation of possession, its performance in theatrical and psychological contexts, and its relation and similarity to hysteria.

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