Life is a Dream

by

Pedro Calderón de la Barca

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Rosaura’s Sword Symbol Analysis

Rosaura’s Sword  Symbol Icon

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

The Life is a Dream quotes below all refer to the symbol of Rosaura’s Sword . 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

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:
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Rosaura’s Sword Symbol Timeline in Life is a Dream

The timeline below shows where the symbol Rosaura’s Sword appears in Life is a Dream. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Dreams vs. Reality Theme Icon
Morality, Honor, and Vengeance  Theme Icon
...He again orders the guards to disarm the strangers and blindfold them. Rosaura unsheathes her sword and hands it to Clotaldo. She tells Clotaldo that if she is to die, her... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Morality, Honor, and Vengeance  Theme Icon
As Clotaldo takes Rosaura’s sword, he is visibly affected. He asks Rosaura where the sword came from, and she says... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Morality, Honor, and Vengeance  Theme Icon
“What a sad fate!” Clotaldo thinks to himself, holding the sword in his hand. He suspects that Rosaura (who Clotaldo is convinced is really a man)... (full context)
Dreams vs. Reality Theme Icon
Morality, Honor, and Vengeance  Theme Icon
...of a life, but that will change after she has her revenge. Clotaldo returns Rosaura’s sword, so that she may use it to avenge her honor, and asks her who her... (full context)
Act Three
Dreams vs. Reality Theme Icon
...Clarín points to Rosaura as she re-enters wearing a long, flowing tunic and brandishing her sword. She approaches Segismundo and throws herself at his mercy. She tells him that she is... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Morality, Honor, and Vengeance  Theme Icon
...that she considered them already married. He left her alone, but he left her his sword. Rosaura was born later and is a “copy” of her mother in “luck and deeds.” ... (full context)
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Morality, Honor, and Vengeance  Theme Icon
...instead of letting it go as Violante herself did. Violante told her to unsheathe her sword and “the greatest nobleman” would take notice, and she does this now as promised. She... (full context)