Las Ocas Gavias, generally translated as The Eight Cages, is considered to be one the greatest works of literature in the Lendian language. It was written in 98 AP by an author who called himself Julio Jurimatro, although it is possible that this is a pen name.
Subject and themesEdit
Las Ocas Gavias is about eight daughters of King Zerazio of Aspalia, one of the six states to exist in Lendia at the time. Under Aspalian succession law, only males could inherit the throne, and Zerazio had fathered eight daughters before finally gaining a son. The eight daughters were all dead by the time of Jurimatro wrote his work (none having died of natural causes), as was Zerazio himself. In accordance with the Aspalian tradition of giving daughters names beginning with the same letter, they were named Voltara, Vivania, Virida, Visania, Valeria, Viucaria, Verina, and Viconia.
The theme of Las Ocas Gavias, as suggested by its title, is imprisonment, but not necessarily as it is traditionally understood. At the start of the work, Jurimatro presents the daughters as being confined by their restrictive father, who sees them as little more than possessions — they are shown as being imprisoned by the social system in which they live. As the work progresses, however, the individual flaws of each daughter become more apparent, and the reader is gradually led to the conclusion that it is their own natures and characters which are the true "cages". Jurimatro still depicts them as victims, however — in his depiction, the oppressive environment from which they came "could produce nothing that was free of itself". Even King Zerazio, originally presented as a harsh and unsympathetic figure, is later shown as a product of a flawed system. Jurimatro argues that physical cages are of less importance than the "cages" made by our own personalities, which are forged by the environment we live in — even those who nominally hold power are actually "prisoners of their own regime, their very natures bent and twisted by the cold world they inhabit."
Las Ocas Gavias was written in a time of political unrest, shortly before the outbreak of the Lendian Revolution. The work can certainly be seen as a political commentary, and was taken as such by many revolutionaries — it is sometimes seen as a pivotal work of the period. Las Ocas Gavias is definitely hostile to the monarchy, but its view of the nobles themselves is more subtle. While it believes them to be flawed individuals, it sees them as victims of their own system — in Jurimatro's famous words, "all monarchies break their monarchs". (This has become a common phrase in modern Lendian, used to express the idea that power corrupts). Jurimatro appears to have believed that a oppressive political system harmed not only the oppressed but the oppressors, and that we should consider both to be victims.
Some scholars, however, believe that the political message of Las Ocas Gavias is only secondary, and that a deeper, more philosophical interpretation is preferable. In particular, they focus on Jurimatro's belief that "inner" cages are more important than outer ones. Jurimatro states that we are imprisoned by "cages formed not of metal but of our soul's deepest flaws", and that these cages are all the stronger if we are not aware of them. Some modern scholars actually believe that Jurimatro was warning against revolution, or at least that he was indifferent to it — according to this view, Jurimatro would contend that true freedom comes from addressing our own personal flaws, not from political change.
Jurimatro's belief that the environment in which we live is responsible for many of our personal defects has also been emphasised by certain groups. A number of communist and feminist academics, for example, have used Jurimatro to support their goals of reforming society — according to them, Jurimatro's conclusions about how the daughters were affected by the monarchy could equally apply to society at large.
Place in societyEdit
Because of its anti-monarchical content, Las Ocas Gavias was banned almost immediately after publication, and an unsuccessful search was mounted for its author. Despite this, it became known in the Lendian literary world, and copies became relatively common. Due to its political themes, it was popular among revolutionaries, and after the Revolution, it was legalised. Today, Las Ocas Gavias is considered by most to be one of the greatest works of literature in the Lendian language, and possibly the world. It is widely studied in modern Lendosa, being taught in schools, and quotes from its text have become common phrases. There have been attempts to turn the work into a film, a play, an opera, and even a musical, but it is generally agreed that it is not well suited to conversion. There is a certain amount of controversy today regarding "modernised" versions — the original was written in 1st Century BP Aspalian dialect, which sometimes causes readers to stumble today.
- mBrrfa Mes ('The Eight Cages'), KaapGɛk ak-ƿɛTeet, Tak, 317