"El haz de lena/The Bundle of Firewood" is a translation of a Spanish drama of the nineteenth century. It was first performed in Madrid in 1872. The play is based on the true life conflict between Spanish king, Phillip II, and his son Don Carlos during the political and religious turmoil of the sixteenth-century. It is an excellent example of Spanish drama in the neo-romanic tradition. "El haz de lena" is a Spanish drama of the nineteenth century. The genre of Spanish drama is known for a freedom of rules that had dominated the previous neo-classical period spilling over from the eighteenth century French taste. The new Romantic fashion was very suited to the Spanish personality of individual freedom and willingness to draw themes of high emotions from Spanish history. "El haz de lena" by Gaspar Nunez de Arce is such a work even though it comes much later than the major Romantic period usually associated with Spanish drama. The historical basis for the story, is the true conflict between the sixteenth-century Spanish king, Phillip II, and his son Don Carlos. The conflict was real but the historical details are not always clear.
In the mix of the time we find religious conflicts that include the revival of a medieval Inquisition and a personal vengeance, the independence of Henry VIII in England and his separation of the English church from Rome, the reform movement of Martin Luther in northern Europe, the expansion of Spain's political power with the discovery of American lands, the Iberian ties of the Hapsburg royal blood line of Austria/Germany, and the many personal quirks of the royal family members.