Life is a Dream

by

Pedro Calderón de la Barca

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Rosaura/Astraea Character Analysis

Rosaura is a noblewoman from Muscovy, Astolfo’s former lover, and Clotaldo’s daughter. Rosaura comes to Poland to find Astolfo and restore her honor by getting revenge on him, but her hippogriff drops her on the top of an unknown mountain with her servant, Clarín, and they stumble across Segismundo and his secret prison. Rosaura is dressed in men’s clothing, and the jailer, Clotaldo, believes she is a man. She surrenders her sword—a symbol of her true identity and a gift from her father—and Clotaldo spares her life and takes her to the palace in Warsaw. There, Rosaura tells Clotaldo that she is a woman, and Clotaldo tells her that he is her father. He advises her to change her name to Astraea and pose as one of Estrella’s ladies-in-waiting, and he tells her to stay away from Astolfo. Estrella soon asks Rosaura to recover a pendant from Astolfo, which, Estrella claims, contains the portrait of another woman. Rosaura doesn’t know what to do, and when Astolfo enters and discovers her, she tries to pretend that she really is Astraea. Astolfo knows Rosaura is the woman he fell in love with in Muscovy, even though he intends to marry Estrella, and he can’t give up the pendant, he says, because the portrait is of Rosaura. Rosaura lies to Estrella about the portrait to buy some time, and she tries to convince to Clotaldo to kill Astolfo on her behalf to avenge her lost honor. Clotaldo refuses, and Rosaura curses him. She then tries to convince Segismundo to kill Astolfo, but he refuses, too. Segismundo, however, promises to restore her honor in a different way. After Basilio makes Segismundo the new king, Segismundo orders Astolfo to marry Rosaura and restore her lost honor. Through the character of Rosaura, Calderón explores the morality of revenge and the importance of honor. While he seems to imply that one’s honor is certainly important, Calderón ultimately suggests that there is nothing honorable about revenge.

Rosaura/Astraea Quotes in Life is a Dream

The Life is a Dream quotes below are all either spoken by Rosaura/Astraea or refer to Rosaura/Astraea. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of Life is a Dream published in 2012.
Act One Quotes

Segismundo, if you know
that your misfortunes are so great
that you died before you were born
because of a heavenly law; if you know
that these shackles are a bridle to your arrogant
fury to keep it in check,
and reins to call it to a halt,
why do you brag? Guards, lock
the door to this cramped prison;
hide him within it.

Related Characters: Clotaldo (speaker), Segismundo, Rosaura/Astraea, Clarín
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

Heaven help me! What’s this I hear?
I still can’t decide whether what’s happening is
an illusion or reality.
This sword is the one that I
left with beautiful Violante
as a token that the man who bore it
girded to his waist would find me
as a loving son
finds an affectionate father.
So, what am I to do (woe is me!)
in a dilemma like this,
if the man who wears it for his benefit
is actually wearing it for his death,
seeing that he has surrendered to me
under sentence of death! What a singular
dilemma! What a sad fate!
What a changeable fortune!

Related Characters: Clotaldo (speaker), Rosaura/Astraea, Violante
Related Symbols: Rosaura’s Sword
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

Besides that, if I now pay heed
to the fact that he said he had come
to take revenge for an affront, a man
who has been affronted is base.
He isn’t my son, he isn’t my son
and doesn’t bear my noble blood!
But if it was some
critical situation of the sort that no one
can avoid, because honor
is of such brittle stuff
that it is broken with a gesture
or besmirched by a puff of air,
what more can he do, what more,
on his part, as a nobleman,
than to come in quest of his honor
at the cost of so many risks?
He is my son, he bears my blood,
since he possesses such great merit!

Related Characters: Clotaldo (speaker), Rosaura/Astraea
Page Number: 12-3
Explanation and Analysis:

I, referring to my books,
found in them, and in all things,
that Segismundo would be
the most insolent man,
the most cruel prince,
and the most impious monarch,
through whom his kingdom would come
to be fragmented and divided,
a school for treason
and an academy of vice;
and that he, carried away by his fury,
amid fearful crimes,
would one day set his foot
on me, and that I, surrendering
would find myself groveling before him
(with what anguish I say this!),
the gray hairs of my beard
serving as a carpet to his feet.

Related Characters: Basilio (speaker), Segismundo, Rosaura/Astraea, Astolfo, Estrella
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Three Quotes

I know you by now, I know you by now,
and I know that you do the same thing
to everyone who falls asleep.
For me there is no more pretense,
because, now undeceived,
I know perfectly well that LIFE IS A DREAM.

Related Characters: Segismundo (speaker), Rosaura/Astraea, Clarín
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

I was born, so resembling her
that 1 was a portrait, a copy of her,
not in beauty
but in luck and deeds;
and so, I won’t need
to say that, an unfortunate
heiress to her lot,
I had the same as hers.
The most I can tell you
about myself is about the lord and master who has stolen
the trophies of my honor,
the remains of my good name.

Related Characters: Rosaura/Astraea (speaker), Segismundo, Clotaldo, Astolfo, Violante
Page Number: 74-5
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Life is a Dream LitChart as a printable PDF.
Life is a Dream PDF

Rosaura/Astraea Character Timeline in Life is a Dream

The timeline below shows where the character Rosaura/Astraea appears in Life is a Dream. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Dreams vs. Reality Theme Icon
Rosaura and her servant, Clarín, are flying high over an unknown mountain range on a hippogriff... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Rosaura complains that Poland has not been kind to her, although she understands that it is... (full context)
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As Rosaura and Clarín move closer to the building, they hear a man, Segismundo, crying inside. “Ah,... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
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...another man the same basic right God has given to the birds, beasts, and fish. Rosaura whispers to Clarín, and Segismundo, overhearing their chatter, demands to know who is there. They... (full context)
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Segismundo is softened by Rosaura’s pleas and lets her go. He tells her that he has been held in the... (full context)
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...Clotaldo moves closer, he orders the guards to kill the intruders at once. Clotaldo informs Rosaura and Clarín that they have violated a royal decree by entering the prison. He demands... (full context)
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Morality, Honor, and Vengeance  Theme Icon
...he continues to cry from the other side, lamenting his imprisonment and lack of freedom. Rosaura and Clarín beg for their lives, but Clotaldo can’t be swayed. He again orders the... (full context)
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As Clotaldo takes Rosaura’s sword, he is visibly affected. He asks Rosaura where the sword came from, and she... (full context)
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Morality, Honor, and Vengeance  Theme Icon
...sad fate!” Clotaldo thinks to himself, holding the sword in his hand. He suspects that Rosaura (who Clotaldo is convinced is really a man) is his son, yet Clotaldo is expected... (full context)
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...yell out for their prince. As Astolfo, Estrella, and the people exit, Clotaldo enters with Rosaura and Clarín. Clotaldo immediately asks to speak with Basilio, and Basilio can sense that something... (full context)
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...is relieved. Now he won’t have to tell Basilio that the stranger is his son. Rosaura turns to Clotaldo and thanks him for sparing her life, but he tells her that... (full context)
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Rosaura admits that she doesn’t have much of a life, but that will change after she... (full context)
Act Two
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Clarín enters, and Clotaldo is reminded that Rosaura is definitely a woman. Clarín says that Rosaura has changed into more appropriate clothing, has... (full context)
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...Segismundo refuses to believe him. As Basilio and Segismundo bicker, Astolfo and Estrella exit, and Rosaura enters, dressed as a lady-in-waiting.    (full context)
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Rosaura is afraid that she will run into Astolfo. Clotaldo has advised her to stay away... (full context)
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Segismundo tells Rosaura that he threw the servant from the balcony, and she says she understands why it... (full context)
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Dreams vs. Reality Theme Icon
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...until Segismundo agrees to behave. The two men struggle, and Segismudo threatens to kill him. Rosaura yells for help and runs from the room, and Astolfo rushes in, coming to Clotaldo’s... (full context)
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...be meant for the woman in the portrait in the pendant around his neck, and Rosaura slips into the room unnoticed. Astolfo promises to remove the portrait and replace it with... (full context)
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Estrella notices Rosaura. “Astraea!” she cries, calling Rosaura by the name Clotaldo has given her disguise. Estrella tells... (full context)
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Estrella exits, and Rosaura is distraught. No one has ever been forced to endure such misfortune, she cries. She... (full context)
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Rosaura tells Astolfo that she doesn’t know what he is talking about. She only knows that... (full context)
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Rosaura quickly comes up with a lie. She tells Estrella that when she ordered her to... (full context)
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...and snatches it from his hand. She looks at it and agrees it indeed fits Rosaura’s likeness. She then demands that Astolfo give her the portrait she asked for. She doesn’t... (full context)
Act Three
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Rosaura enters and approaches Clotaldo. She says that she arrived in Poland a poor, unfortunate woman,... (full context)
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Clotaldo tells Rosaura that he very much wants to please her and restore her lost honor, even if... (full context)
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As Clotaldo and Rosaura exit, trumpets sound and Segismundo enters with Clarín and a group of soldiers. Moments later,... (full context)
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Rosaura tells Segismundo that she was born to a noblewoman in Muscovy. Her mother, Violante, had... (full context)
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Astolfo has come to Poland to marry Estrella, and Rosaura is heartbroken. Violante convinced Rosaura to follow Astolfo to Poland and defend her honor, instead... (full context)
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Morality, Honor, and Vengeance  Theme Icon
...in reality as well, so one must always dream of happiness. Segismundo doesn’t directly answer Rosaura, but he vows to restore her honor before he takes the crown. He sounds the... (full context)
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Dreams vs. Reality Theme Icon
Morality, Honor, and Vengeance  Theme Icon
...him king of Poland. As his first act as king, Segismundo orders Astolfo to marry Rosaura and restore her honor. Astolfo, however, is hesitant. Rosaura is not of royal blood, he... (full context)