The Legend of Don Juan

Don Juan, the ``Seducer of Seville,'' originated as a hero-villain of Spanish folk legend, and his fame spread through the rest of Europe in the 17th century. The many versions of his story include a play by Moliere (``The Stone Feast,'' 1665), a long poem by Byron (``Don Juan,'' 1819-24), and an opera by Mozart (``Don Giovanni,'' 1787).

In the legend, Don Juan is a famous lover and scoundrel who has made more than a thousand sexual conquests. While preparing to seduce the young noble lady Donna Ana, he is discovered by her father, the Commander, who challenges him to a duel. Don Juan kills the Commander and escapes. Donna Ana and her fiance Don Ottavio attempt to hunt down Don Juan, but he is too wily to be caught.

Later, Don Juan passes by the tomb of the dead Commander. A voice comes from the statue on the tomb, warning Don Juan that he will be punished for his wicked deeds. The unrepentant Don Juan jokingly invites the statue to have dinner with him. However, the joke is on Don Juan when the haunted statue comes to life and arrives at Don Juan's house at the promised time.

The statue puts out his hand and offers to take Don Juan to a different banquet. Don Juan, fearless to the last, takes the statue's hand, but finds himself caught in an unbreakable grip that fills him with freezing cold. A fiery pit opens and the statue drags Don Juan off to Hell.

Here the legend of Don Juan ends, and our play begins...

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