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El capitán Alatriste
Capítulo 1: La taberna del turco

En España, hoy es domingo el 09 de diciembre de 2018.
«No era el hombre más honesto ni el más piadoso, pero era un hombre valiente.»


Capítulo Uno: pp. 11-29

In this chapter we are introduced to the title character, Diego Alatriste, our narrator, Ínigo Balboa, and the basic conflict of the novel. We learn how it is that Íñigo came to live with Capitán Alatriste above the Taberna del Turco, we learn something of the Taberna’s owner, Caridad la Lebrijana, and a few of the regular characters who spend time at the Taberna discussing politics and literature. Íñigo aludes to several additional characters who will play signficant roles as enemies of the Captain throughout this and subsequent novels in the series: Gualterio Malatesta, the Italian espadachín; Luis de Alquézar, the king’s secretary; and finally, of Angélica de Alquézar, niece of the king’s secretary and the girl with whom Íñigo falls hopelessly in love.

The action opens with Alatriste being released from debtors prison, getting cleaned up, and back to the Taberna to catch up on news. Shortly thereafter one of the lieutenants of the Alguaciles (a type of police force) brings news of a possible, well-paid, job to Alatriste to help him get back on his feet. And thus begins the adventure of the masked men and the two Englishmen…

This chapter corresponds roughly to the approximately thirteen minutes of the film from the begining to 12:47.

Ir a: Página principal ↩ | Capítulos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | Epílogo

Antes de leer

  1. Review the “Picarsque Life” as introduced to you in the Daily Life in Spain in the Golden Age text. Which of the types of pícaros do you think best matches Diego Alatriste? The clothing Alatriste wears is described on page 19 of the novel.
  2. Íñigo mentions his love, Angélica de Alquézar on page 15 of the edition of the novel we’re using, and describes her first on page 20. Think about how you would describe your first love. Will anyone ever match that description?
  3. In his description of the young Angélica Alquézar on page 20, Íñigo tells us she is in a coach. From what you have read in “Daily Life in Spain…”, from what social class must she have been?
  4. Review the Velázquez painting above, “La Rendición de Breda”. According to Íñigo, Diego Alatriste appears in the painting, just behind the horse. Which character do you think he is supposed to be?
  5. Be watching for a date that tells us approximately when the action takes place.
  6. In the Madrid of the time, one of the best ways to spread news was via verse. Francisco de Quevedo was an excellent poet who found himself in trouble with the court frequently when one of his anonymous poems critical of the court came to the attention of the king or Olivares.

Escuchar el texto

La primera parte (pp. 11-15)
La segunda parte (pp. 15-20)
La tercera parte (pp. 20-25)
La cuarta parte (pp. 25-29)


Después de leer

  1. Is there a “style” that you noticed in the way that Íñigo conveys the story? How might recognizing the style of a text contribute to your understanding of the text?
  2. Were there any unknown vocabulary words that were repeated in this text that you feel may be pivotal to your understanding of the text?
  3. This novel is historical fiction. How many instances of historical fact can you find in each section and how are they distinct from the fictionalized portions?
  4. What reading strategies used when you read in English can be applied in reading this text in Spanish?


  1. Haz una lista de todos los personajes introducidos en el capítulo, y un resumen de sus características.
  2. ¿Quién es el narrador de la historia?
  3. ¿Es capitán de verdad el capitán Alatriste?
  4. ¿Cuántos años tenía Íñigo cuando empezó a vivir con el capitán?
  5. ¿Por qué vive Íñigo con el capitán?
  6. ¿Qué lleva habitualmente el capitán como armas?
  7. ¿Qué entiendes del trabajo que propone Martín Saldaña? ¿Para quién va a trabajar Alatriste? ¿Es buen trabajo? ¿Por qué?
  8. Describe el estilo de narración que usa el autor.
  9. Describe la situación en que viven Alatriste e Íñigo.
  10. ¿Quién es la Lebrijana? ¿Cómo la conoce Alatriste? ¿En qué trabajaba ella?

Ir a: Página principal ↩ | Capítulos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | Epílogo