Paper on Don Juan Tiñoso

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A paper on Don Juan Tinoso.
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  Emmarlone Salva Ravago September 16, 2010 Western Literature Dr. Florentino Hornedo “ Literature irrigates the desserts that our lives have already become. ”  C.S. Lewis The Life of Don Juan Tiñoso of the Kingdom of Valencia and Princess Flocerpida of the Kingdom of Hungary The Life of Don Juan Tiñoso of the Kingdom of Valencia and Princess Flocerpida of the Kingdom of Hungary  1  is considered one of the most popular Philippine metrical romances. It has been printed in Tagalog, Kapampangan, Ilocano, Bicolano and Hiligaynon. As to the date of the Tagalog version, Retana mentions an edition between 1860 and 1898. 2  However, like the majority of Philippine romances this work is anonymous. Classified as an awit  ,  Juan Tiñoso (John the Scabby) is composed of four-hundred forty quatrains or a total of 1,760 verses. Like other Philippine metrical romances, the four component verses of each quatrain are arranged in accordance with an assonant monorhyme scheme. The rime in each stanza is attained through the uniformity of the final vowel sound produced, in Philippine metrical romances this is known as  perfect rime . The verses of the quatrains end either with vowels or consonants. Those ending in consonants have identical or similar vowels, producing what we call ordinary rime . More than two hundred of the component quatrains of  Juan Tiñoso  have perfect rime, a fact that helps to show the high poetic quality of our awit   and partly explains why it has enjoyed so much popularity that even in recent years it has inspired the writing and staging of a moro-moro entitled Don Juan Tiñoso  printed in many Philippine languages. The abundance of perfect rimes in  Juan Tiñoso  undoubtedly contributed to make it a popular favorite not only among singers but among listeners as well. They greatly enjoyed its highly lyrical form that permits a slowly flowing narration of the life of  Juan Tiñoso.  Juan Tiñoso is written as a sequel to another story of widespread popularity, The Story of Prince Oliveros and Princess Armenia in the Kingdom of England, and that of   Prince Artos and Princess Blanca , Parents of Don  Juan Tiñoso  in the Kingdom of Valencia. 1  In order to facilitate frequent reference to the work, the brief title  Juan Tiñoso shall be used. 2  http://bulfinch.englishatheist.org/Filipino.html    Juan Tiñoso  talks about a prince who has been driven away by his father for releasing a giant from prison. In penance for what he has done, he assumes for seven years the disguise of a sore-infested old man. He marries the youngest daughter, among four daughters, of the king of Hungary, who fell in love with him when she saw him bathing without his disguise. He was ridiculed and tormented by the husbands of the three older princesses. His penance having been fulfilled, he then removes his disguise and strike revenge on his tormentors. Eventually, he is reconciled to his parents and, together with Flocerpida, reigns in peace and happiness in Hungary. With respect to the names of other important characters in  Juan Tiñoso, the name of King Artos, the father of  Juan Tiñoso , of the kingdom of Valencia is an anachorism 3  for “ Valencia was a Spanish kingdom, whereas Artos is a name derived from King Arthur of the Round Table of Anglo-Saxon metrical romances. In the same manner, the name of King Diego of Hungary and those of his daughters Juana, Laura and Flora are also anachorisms , since these names are Spanish, not Hungarian. ” 4   The Philippine version of  Juan Tiñoso: modifications made 1) In analogous European works, the giant released by Juan Tiñoso tells him to call him should he need help. The Philippine version modifies this slightly. The grateful giant gives the hero a magic handkerchief which will does not only give him everything he asks for, but also make him master of all animals. Moreover, in the European analogues, the giant advises  Juan  to go out and seek his fortune and, in other analogues, instructs him to take service with a king. While in the Philippine version, which is told partly to demonstrate filial obedience and paternal firmness in dealing with a son’s misbehavior,  Juan  is made to leave his father’s kingdom as a punishment for his disobedience to his father’s orders. As a self  -imposed penance, the  Juan  assumes the disguise of a sore-infested old man for seven years. This disguise of the hero occurs only in the French analogue and not in Spanish. 2)  Juan   goes to princess Flocerpida’s kingdom because he had seen her in a dream and ha d fallen in love with her. However, i n European analogues he becomes attached of the king’s household  by taking lodgings with the gardener. Most of the European analogues preserve this theme of the king’s gardener.  Furthermore, in the Philippine and Spanish versions, the princess falls in love with the hero when she sees him bathing one night without his disguise. In other versions, the hero’s hair has turned to gold and the princess sees the hero one time with his hair unraveled. 3  Something foreign to a country or unsuited to local conditions. 4 Castro et al.,  Anthology of Asean Literatures, Philippine Metrical Romances (Manila: Nalandangan, Inc., 1985), 102.   3) The choice of the princesses of a husband by throwing a golden pomegranate to the favored one in a tournament occurs only in analogues from Germany, Lorraine, Italy, and Greece. 4) The prescribed cure for the king’s illness is lion’s milk. In other analogues, the milk of other wild animals such as bear, tiger, mule, and wild red goat is prescribed. In some Greek, French and Spanish versions, the cure for the king’s blindness is the water of life; in others it is the blood of some animal.  5) Nevertheless, the revelation occurs in much the same way in all the versions. At the assembly,  Juan appears splendidly arrayed and reveals everything. He establishes proof by demanding that his brothers-in-law show the pomegranate that their wives had given them and which they had surrendered to him, and by exposing the brands on their bodies. “Today’s native is y esterday’s visitor ”   Like other Philippine metrical romances,  Juan Tiñoso  has the double function of entertainment and survival. Entertainment from the music and the poetry of the verses as well as the fascinating story-line, further enhanced by the magical elements added such as the magic handkerchief the grateful giant gave  Juan  as a token of his gratitude. The survival function, on the other hand, is exemplified by the plot. 5  In making foreign literature native, besides our wise choice of words and their playful placement and use, the addition of the element of magic, superstition and fantasy to literature is also one way of making native what we call foreign. We, Filipinos, are a fatalistic and superstitious people, believers of deities. Hence, it has become our trademark that we add something magical, fantastic and superstitious to our literary works. Magic and fantasy stirs up our imagination - it puts us to flight! Let’s admit it, magic and fantasy entertain us, they take us away from the concerns and problems of daily life. This is most true especially in the past wherein literature was the sole source of entertainment,  panandaliang kasiyahan for the Filipinos. As of the present, this is now how most of us see literature - a source of entertainment. Hence, majority of contemporary Philippine literature focuses on entertainment, the entertainment of the reader/audience. 5  Ibid., 104.  On the other hand, the enculturation of our very own Filipino values to foreign literature is also another way of making foreign literature native, e.g. values such as obedience and giving due respect to one’s parents (as is the moral of  Juan Tiñoso ). It gives foreign literary works a distinct Filipino character, a distinguishing mark. Though they maintain some of their foreign elements and structure, nevertheless they imbibe the Filipino spirit, the Filipino character when our culture and values are interwoven with them. Therefore, some of the basic ways of making native what we consider foreign, besides the creativity we employ, especially in words and word order, in translating the literary work, involve the interweaving of magic, fantasy, superstition, Filipino values and value systems with those of srcinal foreign literary works, though still having their original elements and structure. Unlike other Philippine romances such as Bernardo Carpio , Los Siete Infantes de Lara  and others,  Juan Tiñoso does not derive the name of its hero from an existing srcinal name in Spanish literature. Considering this fact, plus the message and characteristic trait of the long-suffering  Juan (like Filipinos), we can rightly say that despite the borrowings of elements from foreign romances that have been interwoven in its composition,  Juan Tiñoso  is a Philippine romance.
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