A penniless Spanish grandee does his utmost to prevent his daughter marrying a young man whose family is of minor nobility but rich. Consenting to the marriage could save him from ruin but he is unable to swallow his class pride. For love to prevail, the young man is forced to play the role of an Ethiopian prince.
Regard du traducteur
With the arrival of absolutism in the 1660s, the Danish nobility lost a great deal of political power. The King gave greater support to the affluent bourgeoisie, conferring titles on the more eminent members to further consolidate his own power. It is this class conflict which Holberg stages in Don Ranudo and sets in Spain. However, the playwright is not content simply to ridicule a class condemned to the ravages of history or show the inevitable rise of a new dominant class. He also highlights the extraordinary ferment created by social upheaval: as the new masters join forces with the servants of the deposed nobility, it is the latter who end up calling the tune. Openly claiming their right to speak their mind, they herald Marivaux's valet-philosophers or Beaumarchais' Figaro.