Summary and Critical Commentary
Alsemero has fallen in love with a woman he has seen in church. He decides to delay his departure from Alicante, much to the surprise of his friend, Jasperino, who cannot believe his eyes when Alsemero meets the woman, Beatrice Joanna, and, uncharacteristically, kisses her and declares his love for her. Beatrice regrets that Alsemero has appeared only five days after she has agreed to marry Alonzo de Piracquo, at her father, Vermandero’s, bidding. Jasperino starts to woo Diaphanta, Beatrice’s waiting-woman. When De Flores, an ugly gentleman, comes to announce her father’s arrival, Beatrice treats him harshly and expresses her loathing for him. Vermandero invites Alsemero to stay in his castle. He also insists that Beatrice should be married within a week to Alonzo. On hearing that Beatrice is already engaged, Alsemero desires to leave but is prevailed upon to stay. As she goes Beatrice drops a glove. When De Flores picks it up, she angrily throws down the other, refusing to wear anything touched by him. Left alone, De Flores expresses his infatuation for her.
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