La fuerza de la sangre cervantina en el espejo de una novela de Kleist
In 1808, the German author Heinrich von Kleist published the novella The Marquise of O., which bears an obvious resemblance to The Force of Blood from Cervantes’s Exemplary Novels. In both cases, the female protagonist marries a man after being raped by him. At first sight, Kleist’s text seems to testify to a degree of progress in female emancipation because the victim has doubts about accepting the rapist as her husband. Other aspects of his novella are less conducive to proving such a progress. Kleist stresses the pressures of family honour more than Cervantes does, and he does not restrict himself merely to qualifying rape as a sin or crime. He also hints at the possibility of an unconscious yielding to bodily needs, questioning thus the power of reason to govern sexual desires.