O Narciso do condestável D. Pedro: aegritudo amoris em metamorfose cortês

Translated title of the contribution: The Narcissus of the constable D. Pedro: aegritudo amoris with a courtly metamorphosis

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It is in the context of the hundred glosses illustrating his Sátira de infelice e felice vida, a kind of sentimental romance for courtly instruction and edification, that D. Pedro de Portugal intro- duces Narcissus, an exemplum of how “beauty with grace attract good and loyal love”. Despite the frequent allusions and quotations from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the episode is adapted for the purpose of underlining the author / narrator’s aegritudo amoris at the whimsical hands of Cupid, embodied by the callous lady, whom his heart has to serve, but his reason cannot stop criticizing. Thus, fundamental features of the Ovidian myth and narrative are left out (the ora- cle, the identification with the reflection, Echo, the flower), replaced by the emphasis given to elements associated with the aulic love rhetoric, heir to the courtly love. The emotional discourse of the dying Narcissus, whose duration contributes to underline the egotistical iso- lation of the lover, addresses the divine beauty of the woman; the service of love, exhausting and unrequited; the appeal to the pity and the memory of the beloved; the suffering that cul- minates in death. Except for the unusual and impossible love target, the mythical youth ends up in a timeless gallery of male victims of love who, though reciprocated, committed suicide or were murdered after deciding “it is better to die quickly, than for a long time endure and suffer”. The variety in the sources (classic, such as Ovid and Valerius Maximus; and contem- porary, such as Juan Rodríguez del Padrón or Alonso Fernández de Madrigal), and the peculiar way of interpreting and adapting the mythical accounts (evemerist, astronomical, allegorical) demonstrate how much D. Pedro identified himself with the still medieval point of view of the learned peninsular elite of the mid-fourteenth century, in which the moralizing tendency of the “Ínclita Geração” and the prehumanism of the court of John II of Castile stand out.
Translated title of the contributionThe Narcissus of the constable D. Pedro: aegritudo amoris with a courtly metamorphosis
Original languagePortuguese
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages14
JournalForma Breve
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2021


  • Constable D. Pedro
  • Medieval reception
  • Narcissus
  • Ovid
  • General estoria
  • Sentimental romance


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