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The Sleep of Reason Essay

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Semansky teaches literature and writing at Portland Community College. In the following essay, he discusses the genesis of Goya's engraving and the role of Buero Vallejo's title, The Sleep of Reason in his play by the same name.

Francisco Goya's The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (El sueno de la razon produce monstruos, 1799) has—theorizes Eleanor A. Sayre in her and Perez Sanchez's Goya and the Spirit of Enlightenment—at least two possible antecedents. The first is Charles Monnet's engraved frontispiece for Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Philosophie, volume two (1793). In Monnet's engraving, reason can be said to issue from the eye of God in the form of light beaming down on the desk and person of Rousseau, philosophermuse of the French Revolution (1789). Rousseau is intensely awake, hand-to-head, deep in active thought as Lady Liberty stands near and splayedopen books and papers lie at Rousseau's feet. While dreams do...

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This section contains 1,644 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Sleep of Reason Study Guide
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Drama for Students
The Sleep of Reason from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.