Character Analysis Dona Ana de Ulloa


This is Ann Whitefield some 300 years earlier and before the emergence of the pursuing woman. A faithful Catholic who had never failed to go to confession, she is appalled to find herself in Hell. She is no less shocked to learn that her father, who had been translated to Heaven, is on the best of terms with the Devil. The fact of the matter is, as Don Juan explains, that she is still one of the "unreal and of the seekers of happiness." When the earthly Don Juan had proclaimed his love for her, she had screamed as a matter of duty, and the fatal duel had ensued. Thus motivated by one of the seven deadly virtues, she was really responsible for evil. For a time, she remains incredulous that she should be in the realm of the damned: "I, who sacrificed all my inclinations to womanly virtue and propriety!"

Dona Ana particularly resents Don Juan's concept of a woman's mind and his conviction that marriage is "the most licentious of human institutions" and "a mantrap baited with simulated accomplishments and delusive idealizations." All this is to her "cynical and disgusting materialism," and she vies with Don Juan himself in vehemence as she defends the institution of marriage as viewed by the proper, conventional young lady.

Changed from an old crone into a lady of twenty-seven, Dona Ana has all the grace and attractiveness of Ann Whitefield. She is not convinced by the arguments made by the Devil and supported by the Statue. At the last, she is deeply moved by Don Juan's idealism and eloquence, and by his determination to leave Hell and spend his days in Heaven, "the home of the masters of reality." Once she grasps the idea of Life Force and of the Superman, she is not swerved by the Devil's remark that Superman does not yet exist and probably never will. Fervently she exclaims: "Not yet created! Then my work is not yet done. . . . A father! a father for the superman."

Audiences have remained uncertain whether or not Dona Ana was "apotheosized" — that is, followed Don Juan to Heaven, thus assuming the role of the Vital Woman in pursuit of the superior male. The Devil assures her that she will be in his palace before he and the Statue get there. Shaw himself, in an explanatory note, part of his summary of the Don Juan in Hell interlude, wrote: "Love is neither her pleasure nor her study: it is her business. So she, in the end, neither goes with Don Juan to heaven nor with the devil and her father to the palace of pleasure, but declares that her work is not yet finished. For though by her death she is done with the bearing of men to mortal fathers, she may yet, a Woman Immortal, bear the Superman to the Eternal Father."

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