RUEDA, LOPE DE (1510?-1565?), Spanish dramatist, was born early in the 16th century at Seville, where, according to Cervantes, he worked as a metal-beater. His name first occurs in 1554 as acting at Benavente, and between 1558 and 1561 he was manager of a strolling company which visited Segovia, Seville, Toledo, Madrid, Valencia and Córdova. In the last-named city Rueda fell ill, and on the 21st of March 1565 made a will which he was too exhausted to sign; he probably died shortly afterwards, and is said by Cervantes to have been buried in Córdova cathedral. He was twice married; first to a disreputable actress named Mariana, who became the mistress of the duke de Medinaceli; and second Rafaela Angela, who bore him a daughter. His works were issued posthumously in 1567 by Timoneda, who toned down certain passages in the texts. Rueda's more ambitious plays are mostly adapted from the Italian; in Eufemia he draws on Boccaccio, in Medora he utilizes Giancarli's Zingara, in Armelina he combines Raineri's Attilia with Cecchi's Servigale, and in Los Engañados he uses Gl'Ingannati, a comedy produced by the Intronati, a literary society at Siena. These follow the original so closely that they give no idea of Rueda's talent; but in his pasos or prose interludes he displays an abundance of riotous humour, great knowledge of low life, and a most happy gift of dialogue. His predecessors mostly wrote for courtly audiences or for the study; Rueda with his strollers created a taste for the drama which he was able to gratify, and he is admitted both by Cervantes and Lope de Vega to be the true founder of the national theatre.
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