Litterature essay: “Misericordia” (1897)
Author: Benito Pérez Galdós

Discuss Benina’s character in the context of the oppositions and dualities present in Misericordia.

    “Misericordia” tells the adventures of the main character Benina, an old servant to the widow Doña Paca. The plot happens in the streets of Madrid at the end of the nineteenth century after the Spanish revolution failed. Benito Pérez Galdós, the author, took part in the revolution in 1868. This realistic novel that is strewed with descriptions forms a new gender and is an analysis of the society. It tells the story of a group of beggars led by Seña Benina whose name has been carefully chosen by Galdós in order to question the reader about her importance in the book. Benina thus retains our attention. Doña Paca the mistress, who is physically unstable, a character that is in total opposition with Benina narrates the story. This typical form of the novel of the 19th century helps retaining the attention of the reader. Indeed, by adding an omniscent narrator it creates a perspective that is seen as a god-like figure. Benina distinguishes herself from the other characters by her attitude, and the features that describe her let us think that she might hide a mystery that will be reveal at the end of the novel; a novel that was first seen as a realistic one will become more symbolic or spiritual at the end. Excessive spendings have left Doña Paca without money and obliges Benina to beg secretly in order to provide Doña Paca with sufficient food. In the late nineteenth century the country suffered a period of recession. This latter divided Madrid into two parts; the North where the rich people lived and the South where the poor people lived. This brings us to the oppositions and dualities that arise in the novel. Galdós’ principle idea is that “El Pueblo”, is doing what the middle class, that of Paca should be doing. The working class is not mentioned in the novel since at that period the only...

Similar Essays