Jose Zorrilla

One of the most recognized authors was José Zorrilla , a Spanish playwright and poet who focused his literary work on developing three different genres of poetry , epic , lyrical and dramatic . Despite the fact that his works did not have much background, he was in charge of putting aside the approaches related to ideological issues . He was a faithful representative of romanticism despite not having had great teachers in his life.

Personal information

  • When was he born: 02/21/1817
  • Where he was born: Valladolid, Spain
  • When he died: 01/23/1893
  • Where he died: Madrid, Spain

Who was José Zorrilla?

José Zorrilla was an important and recognized writer of Spanish nationality considered as the main representative of the current of medieval and legendary romanticism that reflected his experiences in each of his works.

  • Biography of José Zorrilla
  • Death
  • Personal life of José Zorrilla
  • Style
  • Physical characteristics
  • Personality
  • Acknowledgments
  • Works by José Zorrilla
  • Phrases
  • Importance
  • Presence in popular culture
  • Curiosities about José Zorrilla

Biography of José Zorrilla

José Zorrilla was born on February 21, 1817 in the city of Valladolid . His parents were José Zorrilla Caballero who worked as a rapporteur for the Foreign Ministry and his mother Nicomedes Moral . At the age of six, his father was appointed as governor of Burgos, so the family moved to this place. He entered the Royal Seminary of Nobles located in Madrid and it was where he began writing his first verses.

With the Carlist War , the family had to move to Lerma and José decided to travel to Toledo to study law as this was his father’s wish. In the place, he dedicated himself to reading and getting to know various places in the old city. He enrolled at the University of Valladolid where he made friends who were fond of the muses. He lost his courses and was returned home, however, he ran away and went to Madrid to continue writing.

His main sources of work were in the newspaper El Español y el Porvenir and in 1839 he premiered his first drama known as De Juan Giving it. Despite having been a writer with great public recognition, he lived most of his life in precarious conditions, he also lived in Paris and Mexico .


José Zorrilla died on January 23, 1893 due to a brain tumor . Initially he was buried in the San Justo cemetery and later his remains were transferred to Valladolid as he had requested this while he was still alive. His death occurred in the midst of misery and he also harbored a great resentment against his father.

Personal life of José Zorrilla

Regarding his personal life, he married Florentina O’Reilly , an Irish widow who was older than him, however, the union did not last long as they were not happy. During that time, he devoted himself to having several lovers . In 1845 he left his wife and moved to Paris . He married Juana Pacheco Martín again on August 20, 1869 who was a woman younger than him.


His style was based on the lyrical , the epic and the drama . In his work, a great musicality , sense of mystery and tradition could be observed . The archaisms that came from the theater of the Golden Age were common to find in his writings. His metric was very rich and works polymetric , where predominated meters and traditional verses . It was common to find the quartets and some combinations. His style also had a tendency to make uneven , it was free ,spontaneous and outgoing .

Physical characteristics

His physical appearance was the prototype of a Renaissance man , he wore a long beard, his hair was fine , and he had a very deep look that reflected a simple character . He used to wear dark clothing and his arms were always crossed over his chest.


It is said that José Zorrilla had a personality in which his complex stood out due to the bad relationship he had had with his father. He also had a very sensual temperament which made him seek out various women. He apparently suffered from hallucinations , was a sleepwalker, and had epilepsy . At the same time he was naive , very kind and liked to be friends with everyone . He was also a very independent man .


Some of his main recognitions are mentioned below:

  • He was appointed in Madrid as a member of the Spanish Theater Board .
  • He was incorporated into the organization of the Royal Academy .
  • He was crowned in 1889 as a poet in the Alcázar of Granada by the Duke of Rivas.
  • In his hometown you can find a statue in his honor located in the city of Valladolid .

Works by José Zorrilla

His most important works were written between the years of 1839 and 1850, some of them are mentioned below:

  • The legend of El Cid in 1882.
  • l Zapatero y el rey, which was the first volume of songs by the troubadour.
  • Sancho García in 1842.
  • The gothic knife and the horse of King Don Sancho .
  • Don Juan Tenorio, a fantasy drama that was based on the mythical character of Don Juan which had been created by Tirso de Molina .
  • The fever.
  • Traitor, unconfessed and martyr.
  • Third Volume of Complete Works that included María and a tale of loves

Among the main poems of José Zorrilla is his work called Poesías, a set of 8 volumes completed in 1840. In 1852 he created his descriptive poem Granada , which he could not finish, he also wrote several legends such as:

  • Summer watches
  • A bronze witness
  • Memories and fantasies
  • Lost flowers

He also wrote some theatrical productions such as live crazy and die more, the Zapatero and the king, the echo of the Torrente, the Guadalajara mill and the puñal del goth.


Among the most recognized phrases of José Zorrilla the following are mentioned:

  • The dead have to filter through the wall.
  • Let those who are with God lie quiet.
  • A point of contrition gives a soul salvation.
  • Fortune that is sung is always carried by the air.
  • In my homeland I only carry my verses for capital.
  • friendship is like music ; two strings of the same pitch will both vibrate, although only one is played.
  • I was born Castilian, everywhere I have seen myself; I am a Christian, and like Christ I preached brotherhood.


Processes Villa was an important Spanish writer as he is considered the main representative of romanticism . He is also considered one of the greatest representatives of liberal romanticism and patriotism . His poems and legends made him one of the most recognized authors of his time. His work, Don Juan Tenorio, was his romantic epigone and is considered one of the works that have left the greatest mark in the literary and artistic field, in the collective and popular imaginary field .

Presence in popular culture

At present many of his works continue to be represented mainly in the theater. Two different adaptations for the cinema were also made, one for his work Don Juan Tenorio, which was actually a short film, and another with the name of Don Juan Tenorio, which was well received by the public.

Curiosities about José Zorrilla

Some curiosities of José Zorrilla are:

  • He started a career in law that never ended because what he really wanted was to study literature .
  • He fled his home on a mule to get to Madrid.
  • He had a passion for drawing .
  • Two of his main weaknesses were women and debt .
  • He had a very bad relationship with his father because they never managed to agree on anything, his father died without forgiving him for having dedicated himself to writing instead of having studied law.
  • His work Don Juan Tenorio is one of the plays that is most represented in Spain and in the world .

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