Passage: what it is, definition, main characteristics, origin and context 


What is the Paso subgenre?

Also known as the paso de comedia, it is a type of dramatic writing that is mainly chosen to be represented in a comic way. It is a dramatic piece that was born during the Renaissance and has only one act, often related to the reality of Spain in the 16th century. Thus, the paso de comedia highlighted that comfortable space of the context, entertaining the audience and often showing a social criticism.

Definition of the paso de comedia

Ultimately, the paso can be defined as a short piece based on a real life event that can provoke laughter and amusement, especially for the strangeness of its essence or for the novelty it represents.

Thus, confusions, conflicts and entanglements will be presented to the public, involving a great series of elements that confronted socially and politically and that will provoke laughter from social criticism.

Origin of the step in the drama

The step takes place from the full development and cultural splendor of Spain, especially in what was considered as the Spanish Golden Age, a time that took place between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, and time also of the Renaissance and Baroque. However, the decadence of this great moment took place due to several factors that triggered economic, cultural and social difficulties, especially due to the proliferation of plagues that generated pests, the lack of food for the people, the increase of confrontations and wars, among others.

During this time the Catholic Church was one of the most influential forces in the environment, which will be seen mainly in its reaction in opposition to the movements that were related to science. On the other hand, both the clergy and the nobility increased their land holdings, as well as their privileges against peasants and other members of the people whose economic and food shortages forced them to move to other cities, much more impoverished.

Characteristics of the passage in the drama

The most relevant characteristics of this subgenre, are:


One of the most important characteristics of the comedy paso is that it will deal with popular themes, this from the context in which it develops and even adds a social critical sense that impacts the audience through the comic, the ridiculed and fun.

Form of composition

Another aspect that distinguishes the comedy paso has to do with the form of composition, since most of the works are composed in verse, however, the paso will be written in prose.

Performance space

Since the paso was a short performance, it was incorporated into the intermission of a larger play.


As for the characters of the paso de comedia, they will be popular characters that are constructed and caricatured, so that we find common figures such as the sheriff, the wolf, the doctor, the poet, the blacks, the doctor, among others that are governed by a spontaneous dialogue that entertains and generates laughter in the spectators.

What is the Paso subgenre

Authors and most important works

One of the most representative authors of this type of works in the dramatic genre will be Lope de Rueda, with a great production of the steps and being, in addition, one of the main exponents of Spanish theater. We also find one of the most important editors of the plays, Juan de Timoneda, who will play a key role in the edition of Lope de Rueda’s works. Other authors who were part of this same Renaissance period are integrated to the list.

As key works of the pasos we can identify “La carátula”, “La ciudad de Fagua”, “Las aceitunas” and “Cornudo y contento”.

Example of a comedy paso 

The following is a fragment of the play “Cornudo y contento”, written by Lope de Rueda:


In short…?


Finally, sir, since I couldn’t move from the pain I felt in these flanks, your cousin said to me:

“Go on, you’re a heartless man; you’re so black and purple that you don’t look like a serene owl.

are a serene owl.” So the gentleman said and did, and then he put up a hen by that

that it seems that now I see it, and in a jiffy it was roasted and cooked and shuffled between the two

the two of them.


Let me play the third, like someone who plays the first game of German.

Ah, my mother! I’d like it well, but they made me believe that what I eat would hurt my wife.

wife what I eat.


You did very well, look who’s going to live safely from now on! As it seems to me, it’s enough for you

it’s enough for us to heal.


Yes, sir, but don’t send me any more than that. If not, it won’t be much, to many

and save your guts, and your body will be like a holed-up cangilon.


Agora, since I have certain vesitas, go in good time, and come this way tomorrow, that with a good

regiment that I’ll order, it’s enough for him to be cured.


God do it, sir.