Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Spanish dramatist; b. at Madrid, 9 April, 1618, d. at Toledo, 28 Octoher, 1669. He received what little academic training he had at the University of Alcalá de Henares and graduated Licentiate in Arts in 1639. From a very early age he began to write for the stage, and it is known that from 1640, probably through his friendship with Calderón, his plays began to be produced. The Spanish drama had reached the height of its success during Moreto's boyhood, and a gradual decline had set in. The clergy began to preach against plays as they were then given, and in 1644 the Royal Council instituted radical reforms by reducing the number of dramatic companies, modifying stage costumes, and establishing a strict censorship. It was furthermore ordered that, thenceforth no comedies were to be played but those of an historical nature, or those dealing with the lives of the saints. This accounts for the fact that for a time, Moreto devoted himself to this kind of drama. Like many famous writers of his time, Moreto received Holy orders toward the end of his life, though it is not known exactly when he did so. He entered the household of the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, Don Baltasar de Moscoso, and in 1659 joined the Brotherhood of St. Peter.

In 1654 twelve of his plays were published in one volume under the title of "First Part of the Comedies of Moreto". Among them may be mentioned "El lindo Don Diego", "Los jueces de Castilla" dealing with the life of Peter the Cruel, "San Franco de Sena", and "Trampa Adelante".

As a writer, Moreto lacked the creative genius of some of his contemporaries, but he excelled them all in knowledge of stagecraft, in the power of coming quickly to the point in evolving his plots. He also excelled in the variety of his characters and in depicting human passions, while at character drawing he was a master surpassed by none. He handles a humorous situation with great delicacy of touch, and is at his best in comedies of the lighter and gayer sort. His best play "El desdén con el desdén" (Disdain met with Disdain), published at Valencia in 1676, is borrowed from Lope de Vega's "Milagros del desprecio" (Scorn works Wonders), and is generally conceded to be better than the original. Molière, in his "Princesse d'Elide", tried to repeat Moreto's success, but fell far short of his model. The "Biblioteca de Autores Españoles", XXXIX (Madrid, 1856) contains a collection of Moreto's plays with a biography of the author by Luis Fernandez Guerra.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:12-22
12 do not forget, I say, that you were at that time ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
9 His saving help is near for those who fear him, his ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:35-38
35 'See that you have your belts done up and your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 21st, 2014 Image

St. Hilarion
October 21: Abbot and disciple of St. Anthony the Great, companion of St. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter