Is Lazarillo de Tormes a Subversive Text? Essay example

1468 Words May 16th, 2013 6 Pages
Is Lazarillo de Tormes a subversive text? Illustrate your answer with examples.

In this essay I am going to discuss whether or not we can consider Lazarillo de Tormes as a subversive text and the reasons behind why or why not we may believe it to be so. To accomplish this, I will explore the background behind Lazarillo, the different methods and literary devices used to convey dual meaning and give the text an undertone of subversion.
The word ‘subversion’ is defined as “a systematic attempt to undermine, overthrow or cause the destruction of an established or legally constituted government or political system.” 1 Lazarillo de Tormes is thought to have been written during 16th century Spain, a time of oppression and exploitation of
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We see on multiple occasions in Lazarillo a tendency towards euphemism as a means to deploy underhand comments and subtle hints of resentment towards the institution of the Church and the system of nobility in 16th century Spain. This greatly lends aid to the overall subversiveness of the text and allows the author to convey his contempt for the system without being overly heretical. For example, in the fourth episode, when speaking of his time spent with the Friar, Lázaro relates to us how the Friar didn’t like spending time in the convent, preferring to make personal visits and walk outside and because of this, had ‘broken more shoes’ in the convent than any other. “Tanto, que pienso que rompía él más zapatos que todo el convento.” 5. This ‘breaking of the shoes’ could easily have been seen in context when taking into consideration the period as a euphemism for having sex with virgins. This alone would have been scandalous as he is a Friar, and has taken an oath of celibacy. However, when recounting that the Friar was housed in a convent, it is unlikely that there would have been a significant amount of virgins waiting around for him to partake in such activities with, which leads us to
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