The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes

The priest Character Analysis

The priest of Maqueda is Lazaro’s second master, more selfish and stingy than even the blind man. He agrees to take Lazaro on as a servant, but he deprives Lazaro of food while he indulges in excessive eating and drinking himself. The priest takes the bread that is donated to the church and eats it, and he also stuffs himself on the feasts of the funerals he administers. Through his selfishness, dishonesty, gluttonousness, and cruelty toward Lazaro, the priest epitomizes the hypocrisy of the church.

The priest Quotes in The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes

The The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes quotes below are all either spoken by The priest or refer to The priest. 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:
Truth, Deception, and Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the NYRB Classics edition of The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes published in 2004.
Chapter 2 Quotes

All I can say is that my new master had collected all the stinginess in the world and was hoarding it. Whether he had been born with that character or had put it on with his priest’s cassock I don’t know.

Related Characters: Lazaro de Tormes (speaker), The priest
Page Number: 33-34
Explanation and Analysis:

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“I’ve had two masters. The first one nearly starved me to death and when I left him I took up with this one who’s virtually brought me to the edge of the grave. If I quit this one now and land myself with another one who’s even worse, there’s only one thing that can happen to me: I’ll die.”

Related Characters: Lazaro de Tormes (speaker), The priest
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

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So it went on, and we kept it up at a great rate, fulfilling the old saying that “Where one door shuts another opens.”

Related Characters: Lazaro de Tormes (speaker), The priest
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes

“He’s poor,” I said to myself, “and nobody can give what he hasn’t got. Whereas that miserly blind man and that niggardly skin-flint of a priest had both done alright for themselves in the name of God, the one with his hand-kissing and the other with his line of patter, and they starved me half to death. So it’s perfectly fair to be down on them and to take pity on this one.”

Related Characters: Lazaro de Tormes (speaker), The blind man, The priest, The squire
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:

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The priest Character Timeline in The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes

The timeline below shows where the character The priest appears in The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Social and Religious Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Poverty, Crime, and Violence Theme Icon
Lazaro meets his next master in Maqueda, where he goes to the priest to ask for alms. The priest asks if Lazaro knows how to help with mass... (full context)
Truth, Deception, and Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Social and Religious Hypocrisy Theme Icon
The priest has a habit of taking the holy bread from the church and locking it away... (full context)
Social and Religious Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Poverty, Crime, and Violence Theme Icon
...only opportunities Lazaro has to feed himself adequately are at funerals, when he and the priest both stuff themselves on the funeral feast provided by the families of the deceased. Lazaro... (full context)
Truth, Deception, and Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Poverty, Crime, and Violence Theme Icon
One day a tinker comes to the door while the priest is away and Lazaro convinces the man to give him a key that will open... (full context)
Truth, Deception, and Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
...can break off many little pieces from each of the loaves, and that way the priest will think that mice have gotten into the chest through one of its many holes.... (full context)
Truth, Deception, and Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Social and Religious Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Poverty, Crime, and Violence Theme Icon
The priest begins to lay mouse traps inside the chest, baiting them with pieces of cheese, but... (full context)
Social and Religious Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Mercy and Compassion Theme Icon
...health by a local healer and the neighbors. They begin to repeat the story the priest had told them, and, while they are filled with laughter, Lazaro begins to cry. He... (full context)