Out of the Wings

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La conquista de Jerusalén por Godofre de Bullón (1581-1585), Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra


The play’s principal champion, Arata, argues that the work was probably originally written in four acts, as was the fashion during the period 1575-85. It was reduced to three acts to suit the style of the burgeoning comedia nueva. Arata (1992) draws this conclusion because the ‘third’ act is double the length of the other two acts. There is also a natural break in the action and a passage of time mid-way through this ‘third’ act, which (in Arata’s view) clearly signifies what was originally a transition to a fourth act. The stage clears of characters 20 times, but Arata describes the play as containing 40 scenes.

  • Arata, Stefano. 1992. ‘La conquista de Jerusalén, Cervantes, y la generación teatral de 1580’, Criticón, 54, 9-112. (in Spanish)


Arata notes that Cervantes tends to be more descriptive in his stage directions than Lope, and this play is no exception.  The allegorical figures especially are described in detail (the first characters to emerge are Jerusalem, personified as an old woman with chains attached to her ankles, and Toil, personified as an old man who wears a yoke upon his shoulders). Hope, as a woman wearing a short tunic in the ancient style, carries an olive branch, and the soldiers and captives are described as appropriately well armed or destitute looking as befits their position. Sound effects are important in the play, as Spanish oboes called chirimías and drums are heard; there are also voices calling out ‘from within’ which is unusual because it is not typically a Cervantine staging recourse (Arata 1992: 22).

  • Arata, Stefano. 1992. ‘La conquista de Jerusalén, Cervantes, y la generación teatral de 1580’, Criticón, 54, 9-112. (in Spanish)

Cast number
Minimum Maximum
10 males 25 males
4 females 6 females
14 (total) 31 (total)
Cast information
Many of the minor characters could be doubled, and the optional number of soldiers and townsfolk can augment or reduce the cast size.
  • GODOFRE DE BULLÓN, Christian General
  • BOEMUNDO, Prince of Calabria
  • TANCREDO, Prince
  • PEDRO, Hermit
  • REIMUNDO, Count of Tolosa
  • FABRICIO, Soldier
  • CHARLES, Soldier
  • JERUSALEM, Personified as an old woman
  • SOLINDA, Christian prisoner
  • LUSTAQUIO, Her husband, also a prisoner
  • ANSLEMO, prisoner
  • TEODORO, prisoner
  • TOIL (or WORK), Personified as an old man
  • HOPE, Personified (female)
  • CONTENTMENT, Personified (male)
  • FREEDOM, Personified (female)
  • CLORINDA, Muslim woman
  • ERMINIA, Muslim woman
  • ALZARDO, Erminia’s tutor
  • ARGANTE, Muslim man
  • ALADINO (Aladdin), King of Jerusalem
  • JALDELIO, Ambassador of Egypt
  • MARSENIO, Necromancer
  • ARGENTE, Eunuch, Clorinda’s tutor

Entry written by Kathleen Jeffs. Last updated on 4 October 2010.

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