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Encyclopedia > La Celestina
Title La Celestina

Title page
Author Fernando de Rojas
Original title Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea
or Libro de Calisto y Melibea y de la puta vieja Celestina
Country Spain
Language Spanish
Genre(s) Medieval novel
Publisher Burgos
Released 1499
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)

The Celestina (used as title, synecdoche, one of the characters of the book actually called Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea or Libro de Calisto y Melibea y de la puta vieja Celestina) is a novel published anonymously by Fernando de Rojas (about whom we know little) in 1499. This book is considered to be one of the greatest in Spanish literature, and traditionally marks the end of medieval literature and the beginning of the literary renaissance in Spain. The book is written against the servants of the low nobility and procuresses for us to beware their tricks and lies. The story tells of Calisto, a bourgeois who falls in love with Melibea, the daughter of a nobleman; they become engaged following the machinations of Celestina, but their love has a tragic end after an accident in which Calisto falls off a ladder. On seeing this, Melibea subsequently decides to jump from a tower to her death. The name Celestina has become synonymous with procuress — especially an old woman - dedicated to promoting the illegal engagement of a couple — and the literary archetype of this character (her masculine counterpart is Figaro). Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 424 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (900 × 1272 pixel, file size: 264 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) La Celestina by Fernando de Rojas. ... Fernando de Rojas (c. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Look up synecdoche in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Fernando de Rojas (c. ... 1499 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Spanish literature may refer to: literature composed in the Spanish language literature of Spain in any of the languages of Spain It may include Spanish poetry, prose and novels. ... Nobility is a traditional hereditary status (see hereditary titles) that exists today in many countries (mainly present or former monarchies). ... Bourgeois at the end of the thirteenth century. ... For other senses of this word, see archetype (disambiguation). ... Figaro may refer to any of the following: Figaro, the central character in the comedies, The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro, and The Guilty Mother by Pierre de Beaumarchais. ...


Plot summary

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Calisto falls madly in love with Melibea and asks for help from his servants, Sempronio and Pármeno. Sempronio tells Calisto about Celestina, a procuress who owns a brothel with two prostitutes, Elicia and Areusa. Calisto accepts and asks Celestina for help, and in exchange he would give her a gold chain, Celestina accepts and she promises to Sempronio and Pármeno that she will give them a part of the chain. Celestina meets with Melibea and gives her a magic thread, they talk but when Celestina names Calisto, Melibea gets angry and tells Celestina to leave. The next day, though, she changes her opinion. Celestina has told Melibea that Calisto is suffering. He has such pains, and a word of her can cure him. This makes Melibea change her mind and asks Celestina for a date with Calisto. Melibea asks Celestina to give her girdle to Calisto. Calisto gives Celestina the chain but she doesn´t say anything to Sempronio and Pármeno. When they find out that Calisto paid Celestina they go to Celestina's brothel and kill her, but one of the prostitutes sees them killing Celestina and they are executed. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Prostitution is the sale of sexual services (typically manual stimulation, oral sex, sexual intercourse, or anal sex) for cash or other kind of return, generally indiscriminately with many persons. ...

Calisto gets to the date in Melibea's house with his other two servants Sosia and Tristan. Elicia and Areusa, who were lovers from Sempronio and Pármeno send two thugs, while Calisto is getting to Melibea's balcony with a ladder he hears Sosia and Tristan shouting. He runs to help them but he falls off the ladder and dies. Melibea sees Calisto dead and runs to the highest tower of her house and throws herself off when her father is returning home.

Spoilers end here.


There are two versions of the play; one is called a Comedy and has 16 acts, the other is considered a Tragic Comedy and has 21 acts.

Although it is suspected that there may have been an earlier edition, the first edition is considered to be the Comedy published by Burgos by printer Fadrique Aleman in 1499, with the title Comedia de Calisto y Melibea (Comedy of Calisto and Melibea), conserved in the Hispanic Society of New York. Some scholars have expressed doubt about this date, considering the version published in 1500 by Toledo to be the first edition. see also: The First Edition, a musical group fronted by Kenny Rogers. ... 1499 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... NY redirects here. ... 1500 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Toledo is a city and municipality located in central Spain, about 70 kilometers south of Madrid. ... see also: The First Edition, a musical group fronted by Kenny Rogers. ...

The comedy contains 16 acts and contains some stanzas with acrostic verses, in which you can read “El bachiller Fernando de Rojas acabó la Comedia de Calisto y Melibea e fue nascido en la Puebla de Montalbán,” which says, “The graduate Fernando de Rojas finished the Comedy of Calisto and Melibea and was born in the city of Montalbán.” (This is the reason it is believed that Rojas was the original author of the play.) Fernando de Rojas (c. ...

A new edition entitled Tragicomedia de Calisto y Melibea (Tragic Comedy of Calisto and Melibea) (Sevilla: Jacobo Cromberger) appeared in 1502. This version contained 5 additional acts, bringing the total to 21 acts. 1502 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Rojas makes a powerful stroke with his characters, who appear before the reader full of life, with deep psychology; they are human beings with an execptional internal characterization, which moves away from the usual “type” in medieval literature. Fernando de Rojas (c. ... Characterization is the process of conveying information about characters in fiction. ... Medieval literature is a broad subject, encompassing essentially all written works available in Europe and beyond during the Middle Ages (encompassing the one thousand years from the fall of the Western Roman Empire ca. ...

Nonetheless, some critics only see them as allegories. Gilman has come to deny the possibility of analyzing them as characters based on the belief that Rojas limited dialogue in which interlocutors respond to a given situation, the sociological depth can only be argued based on extratextual elements. An allegory (from Greek αλλος, allos, other, and αγορευειν, agoreuein, to speak in public) is a figurative mode of representation conveying a meaning other than (and in addition to) the literal. ... An interlocutor (pronounced in-ter-lock-you-ter) describes someone who informally explains the views of a government and also can relay messages back to a government. ...

Lida de Malkiel speaks of objectivity; in this way, different characters are judged in different manners. The contradictory behavior of characters is a result of Rojas humanizing his characters.

One common feature of all of the characters (in the world of nobles as well as servants) is their individualism, their egoism, and their lack of altruism. But they aren’t perfect, and they change throughout the play. The theme of greed is explained by Francisco José Herrera in an article about envy in La Celestina and related literature (meaning imitations, continuations, etc.), where he explained the motive of the gossipers and servants to be “greed and robbery,” respectively, in the face of the motives of the nobles, which are raging lust and the defense of social and family honor. The private benefit of the lower-class characters forms a substitute for the love/lust present for the upper class. Individualism is a term used to describe a moral, political, or social outlook that stresses human independence and the importance of individual self-reliance and liberty. ... Egoism may refer to any of the following: psychological egoism - the doctrine that holds that individuals are always motivated by self-interest ethical egoism - the ethical doctrine that holds that individuals ought to do what is in their self-interest rational egoism - the belief that it is rational to act... For the ethical doctrine, see Altruism (ethics). ... Greed is excessive or uncontrolled desire for or pursuit of money, wealth, food, or other possessions, especially when this denies the same goods to others. ... Look up Envy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Honor (or honor) comprises the reputation, self-perception or moral identity of an individual or of a group. ...

Fernando de Rojas liked to create characters in pairs, to help build character development through relationships between complimentary or opposing characters. In the play in general there are two opposite groups of characters, the servants and the nobles, and within each group are characters divided into pairs: Pármeno and Sempronio, Tristán and Sosia, Elicia and Areusa, in the group of servants; Calisto and Melibea, Pleberio and Alisa, in the group of nobles. Only Celestina and Lucrecia do not have a corresponding character, but this is because they perform opposite roles in the plot: Celestina is the element that catylizes the tragedy, and represents a life lived with wild abandon, while Lucrecia, Melibea’s personal servant, represents the other extreme, total opression. In this sense, the character of the rascal Centurino added in the second version is an addition with little function, although he has something to do with the disorder that calls the attention of Calisto and causes his death. Experience points (often abbreviated as exp, ep or xp) are a representation of a characters advancement and improvement in skills in role-playing games and computer role-playing games. ...


Celestina is the most suggestive character in the work, to the point that she gives it its title; she is a colorful and vivid character, she’s hedonistic, miserly yet full of life. She has such a deep understanding of the psychology of the other characters that she can convince even those who do not agree with her plans to cede to them. She uses people’s greed, sexual appetite (which she helps create, then provides means to satisfy), and love to control them. She represents a subversive element in the society: she spreads and facilitates sexual pleasure. She stands apart for her use of magic. Her character is inspired by the meddling characters of the comedies of Plautus and in works of the Middle Ages such as the Libro de Buen Amor (Book of Good Love) by Juan Ruiz and Italian works like Historia de duobus amantibus by Enea Silvio Piccolomini and Elegía de madonna Fiammeta by Giovanni Boccaccio. She was once a prostitute, and now she dedicates her time to arranging discreet meetings between illicit lovers, and at the same time uses her house as a brothel for the prostitutes Elicia and Areusa. Gadabout redirects here. ... Psychology is an academic or applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes such as perception, cognition, emotion, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. ... Greed is excessive or uncontrolled desire for or pursuit of money, wealth, food, or other possessions, especially when this denies the same goods to others. ... Love is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection or profound oneness. ... Look up Control in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Young people interacting within an ethnically diverse society. ... The Sorceress by John William Waterhouse Magic and sorcery are the influencing of events, objects, people and physical phenomena by mystical, paranormal or supernatural means. ... Titus Macchius Plautus, generally referred to simply as Plautus, was a playwright of Ancient Rome. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Juan Ruiz (ca. ... Historia de duobus amantibus was one of the bestselling books of the fifteenth century, even before its author, Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, became Pope Pius II. It is one of the earliest examples of an epistolary novel, full of erotic imagery, and hilarious. ... Pope Pius II, born Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Latin Aeneas Sylvius), (October 18, 1405 – August 14, 1464) was Pope from 1458 until his death. ... Giovanni Boccaccio Giovanni Boccaccio (June 16, 1313 – December 21, 1375) was an Italian author and poet, a friend and correspondent of Petrarch, an important Renaissance humanist in his own right and author of a number of notable works including On Famous Women, the Decameron and his poetry in the vernacular. ... Whore redirects here. ... Discreet, Inc. ...


Calisto is a young man whose only interest is to seek out pleasure, and he is not concerned about who he may hurt along the way. His cynicism causes him to doubt the sincerity of his servant Pármeno when he warns him of risk. Calisto is a very egotistical character. His character is the most literary, the most contrived. Look up Pleasure in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Cynicism (Greek ) was originally the philosophy of a group of ancient Greeks called the Cynics, founded by Antisthenes. ... This article is about the mental state. ... In the modern world, sincerity is the elusive virtue of speaking truly about ones feelings, thoughts, desires. ... For other uses, see Risk (disambiguation). ...


Melibea is a vehement girl, in whom repression appears as forced and unnatural; she feels like a slave to the hypocrisy that has existed in her house since her childhood. In the play she appears to be the victim of a strong passion induced by Celestina’s spell. She is really bound by her social conscience. She worries about her honor, not modesty, not her concept of what is moral. Her love is more real and less “literary” than that of Calisto; it is her love that motivates her actions, and Celestina’s “spell” allows her to retain her honor. Hypocrisy is the act of condemning another person, where the stated basis for the criticism is the breach of a rule which also applies to the critic and of which the critic is in breach to a similar or greater extent. ... Honor (or honor) comprises the reputation, self-perception or moral identity of an individual or of a group. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...

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