PDF | 500 KB |
Publicada en 1878, Marianela es una novela por la que Benito Pérez Galdós (1843-1920) mostró siempre una especial predilección.
El relato —en el que se hallan ya las grandes dicotomías de la obra galdosiana posterior:
realidad frente a imaginación, progreso frente a ignorancia, caridad frente a justicia social—
extrae buena parte de su fuerza dramática de la figura conmovedora de su protagonista, que, enamorada del ciego Pablo Penáguilas, prefiere morir antes de que éste, una vez recuperada la vista, pueda contemplar su fealdad.
The novel takes place in the fictional town of Socartes, Spain. The town’s name refers to the philosopher Socrates and his ideas about internal and external beauty.
It tells the story of Marianela (sometimes referred to as “Nela”), a poor orphan girl with an ugly face, and her love for Pablo, a blind boy, who has feelings for Nela as well. Marianela frequently sings to Pablo, and he believes she is beautiful because of her voice.
Pablo’s father asks a famous doctor, named Teodoro Golfin, to come and examine Pablo to see if his sight can be restored.
Pablo, full of hope at the prospect, promises La Nela that he will marry her after the operation if it is successful. He is convinced that La Nela is beautiful, even when she tells him otherwise. In the meantime, Pablo’s father plans for Pablo to marry his beautiful cousin, Florentina, but tells neither of them about it.
Florentina comes to Socartes and when Marianela first sees her, she mistakes her for the Virgin Mary because of her beauty.
When Florentina is out walking with Pablo and Marianela, she expresses her pity for La Nela because she is poor, abandoned and nobody loves her.
She vows to take charge of Nela and clothe, educate her, and have La Nela live with her like a sister.
Pablo eventually gets the operation that gives him his sight. Before seeing Nela, he sees Florentina and proposes to her instead.
Because of this, Nela attempts suicide but is saved by Teodoro Golfín, the eye doctor who cured Pedro. He and Florentina take Nela to Pablo’s villa and take care of her while she is hiding away from Pablo because of her looks.
Then, due to Pablo’s desire to see her, Pablo finds his way to La Nela’s room and serenades Florentina.
He then sees La Nela in bed and confuses her for “just a poor girl who Don Teodoro took in from the street.” La Nela then admits it as she and kisses his hand three times.
Upon the third kiss, she dies of a broken heart and leaves Pablo distraught.