Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Joseph V. Ricapito


This dissertation studies the supernatural elements in Cervantes' comedies. There have been studies in the past, like the dissertation of Linton Lomas Barrett and the dissertation of Mary Lewis Dewey Weaver, that deal with some themes similar to this dissertation. The dissertation of Barrett deals only with the supernatural elements in La Numancia, and the dissertation of Dewey Weaver only studies the presence of magic and witchcraft in some of the narrative prose works by Cervantes. This dissertation not only deals with magic and witchcraft but also the supernatural elements that are present in the ten comedies, such as fate, destiny, fortune, star, omen, freewill and providence. These concepts were the object of arguments by the great thinkers of the renaissance humanism. One of the chapters of this dissertation will discuss this debate. This dissertation will also discuss the debate among the critics with respect the true thoughts of Cervantes. For Otis H. Green the use by Cervantes of words like fate, destiny, luck and fortune is pure rhetoric. However, for Americo Castro inside the Cervantine system the "fatum" is admitted, but not the fortune and chance. Another controversial point that is discussed in this dissertation is Americo Castro's opinion when he says that Cervantes eliminates the possibility that his characters are moved by their inner soul and by an internal struggle. The readers of this dissertation will be able to see the reality of this inner struggle in characters such as Aurelio, Saavedra, Roldan and Father Cruz.