Rosaura’s sword, which she brings with her from Muscovy to Poland to avenge her lost honor, is mentioned several times in Life is a Dream, and it is symbolic of Rosaura’s identity as Clotaldo’s daughter and as royalty within the play. Upon her arrival to Poland, Rosaura knows nothing of her father or of what her sword signifies. Her mother, Violante, tells Rosaura to take the sword with her to Poland and be seen with it in the company of noble and eminent men. One of these men, Violante says, will step forward and be Rosaura’s savior. When Rosaura is captured at the secret prison for trespassing, the sword indeed saves her life. Clotaldo recognizes the weapon as the same sword he had left behind in Muscovy for his unborn child, and he assumes that Rosaura, who is disguised as a man, is his son.
Rosaura’s sword doesn’t just identify her as Clotaldo’s daughter—since Clotaldo is a nobleman, the sword also signifies Rosaura’s royal blood and her identity as a noblewoman. It is Astolfo who has stolen Rosaura’s honor in Muscovy and left her to marry Estrella, and Rosaura plans to kill him and recover her lost honor; however, Segismundo orders Astolfo to marry Rosaura instead. That way, Rosaura’s honor is restored and her morality doesn’t suffer through needless and unethical revenge. Astolfo, however, is hesitant to marry Rosaura because she is not of noble blood, but when Clotaldo admits through the sword that Rosaura is indeed his daughter, Astolfo finally agrees to marry her. Thus, the sword allows Rosaura to assert her true identity, allowing her honor to be restored and her morals and integrity to remain intact.
Rosaura’s Sword Quotes in Life is a Dream
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!