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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

V. The Restoration Drama

§ 14. Spanish Personages in English Plays

As to Spanish personages interspersed through Elizabethan drama, it has been well said: “They were either arrogant, boastful, pompously affected or cruel,” sheer caricatures, in a word, drawn with an unfriendly pen. Middleton’s Lazarillo in Blurt Master-Constable (a sad perversion of that delightful rascal, his namesake of Tormes), and Jonson’s ridiculous caricature in the pretended Don Diego of The Alchemist are sufficient illustrations of this. As to the boasters and bullies of the playwrights, Bobadill, Captain Tucca, Ancient Pistol and the rest, there was no need to bespeak them in Spain. For such traits of the kind as were not derived from observation can show a clear literary descent from the Miles Gloriosus of Plautus. That Shakespeare contrived to keep his Don Armado human, as well as absurdly lofty and vainglorious, is partly due to the fact that Armado is the portrait of an actual mad Spaniard, known as “fantastical Monarcho,” who haunted the London of his day. And Armado, too, had had his immediate literary model in Lyly’s contribution, Sir Thopas in Endimion, to the Plantine line of descent just mentioned.