What kind of man is this Don Juan Tenorio?", asks Leo Weinstein in his monograph on the Don Juan legend, "Why does he bend all his efforts to deceive women?. . . To the modern, Freud-oriented reader, Tirso's hero is likely to remain enigmatic. . . ." Rather than permit the thought that the enigma is due to the lack of psychological depth and subtlety in the creation of a 17th century priest, I intend to demonstrate that the opposite is the case, and that nowhere earlier in literature is a description of the psychopath found more sharply delineated than in this brilliant play of a Spanish friar named Gabriel Téllez, who wrote El Burlador de Sevilla y Convidado de Piedra, under the pseudonym Tirso de Molina in the first part of the seventeenth century.
While it was not until the nineteenth century that physicians began to elucidate the nature of that disturbing category of human beings that we now call psychopaths, history and literature show that they have always been with us. Although psychopathic behavior was displayed by literary characters as early as Ulysses of The Iliad, (that same psychopathic Ulysses was later revisited by Dante in Inferno Canto 26), this Burlador (trickster), Don Juan Tenorio, has come to occupy a place in western literature alongside the other great legends of Don Quixote, Faust, and Hamlet. Later, under the successive ministrations of Molière, Hoffmann, Mozart, Da Ponte (Mozart's librettist), and Byron, the character of Don Juan lost much of the vicious edge given him by his creator, and was gradually transmuted into the character we identify with the name of Don Juan today: the profligate lover and often, a romantic seeker for ideal womanhood
Throughout the play, even unto his final end, Don Juan expresses no feelings of guilt or remorse (asking for confession at the end only indicates his acknowledgement of infractions against God's laws, not remorse). Quite the contrary, he glories in his exploits and takes pride in his reputation as El Burlador. There is no plan to change, as he continually reminds Catalinón. Making insincere promises to obtain the objects of his seduction, he never will carry through on any of them
Don Juan lacks insight as to the significance of his behavior for himself and other people
Don Juan's affairs are loveless and shallow. Nothing deeper than gozar (to enjoy) is intended by Don Juan. They are driven by his impulses. He is obsessed with the idea that he must "enjoy" his particular conquest of the moment "por Tisbea estoy muriendo" and "[[exclamdown]]Esta noche he de gozalla!". A lasting relationship is definitely unwanted
"The psychopath's insight is always directed toward his internal needs. These needs are not what they appear to be. He is not predominantly hedonistic, although some of his behavior, particularly sexual, might lead one to think so. Instead, he is motivated primarily by the need to dominate and humiliate either the person he is 'taking' or, very often, someone connected to a person with whom he is involved. He may, for instance, seduce a friend's girlfriend."