Florante at Laura

The masterpiece Florante at Laura written by Francisco "Balagtas" Baltazar became widespread as it pervaded all forms of media such as the comic version pictured here.
The masterpiece Florante at Laura written by Francisco “Balagtas” Baltazar became widespread as it pervaded all forms of media such as the comic version pictured here.

Welcome to this post on Florante at Laura. As we study the Philippine literature during the Spanish period, we will revisit the various literary masterpieces produced/written during this period and Florante at Laura penned by Francisco Baltazar is one of them. I suppose you already took this up in your High School Filipino course but it would be nice to have some considerable mastery of this immortal Filipino masterpiece. We can only claim Florante at Laura to be truly our own if we can talk about it and at the same time, share and exchange insights about it. So, hang in there and let’s enjoy Florante at Laura once again. Enjoy!

Historical background

Florante at Laura is a shorter version of its original title, written in ancient Tagalog: “Pinagdaanang Buhay ni Florante at ni Laura sa Cahariang Albania. Quinuha sa madlang “cuadro histórico” o pinturang nagsasabi sa mga nangyayari nang unang panahón sa Imperio nang Grecia, at tinula nang isang matouain sa versong tagálog. (The Life of Florante and Laura in the Kingdom of Albania: Culled from a publicly-displayed “cuadro histórico” or historical painting which describes the events which were occurring during ancient times in the empire of Greece, and penned by someone who enjoys Tagalog verse).

This literary masterpiece was written during Francisco Baltazar’s imprisonment in Pandacan, Manila (he used the pseudonym Francisco Balagtas). Florante at Laura was said to be the outcome of Balagtas’ heartbroken situation after losing the woman that he loved the most whom he referred to as “Celia.” Balagtas wholeheartedly dedicated this timeless book to Celia (Maria Asuncion Rivera or M.A.R.), who was later married to Balagtas’ rival, Mariano Capule, a rich and powerful man. It was Capule who made false charges against Balagtas and used the power of money to put him in jail.

Dr. José Rizal (the Philippine National Hero) considers Florante at Laura to be the best awit (form of Filipino poetry) in his time. It was written as a depiction of the country’s situation during the rule of the Spaniards. Balagtas was playful with his use of mockery, irony, paradox, satire, disdain; he sets all this up like chess pieces. The characters and the setting used were of foreign origin but the nature, gesture and custom are undoubtedly Filipino and the events in the story are similar to the real incidents during that period.

Florante and Laura is considered an Awit or a “Song” in English. It has 399 stanzas and is written in poetic form that has 4 lines per stanza and 12 syllables per line and each stanza is full of figures of speech.

At present, Florante at Laura is an important Filipino literary classic that is being studied in secondary school (in the second year) in the Philippines, in accordance with the curriculum set by the Commission on Higher Education.

The Characters

Major characters:

  • Florante. Son of Duke Briseo and Princess Floresca; the main character of the story; Laura’s love.
  • Laura. Daughter of King Linceo; Florante’s love.
  • Aladin. A Muslim prince and soldier; son of Sultan Ali-Adab; the man who saved Florante; Flerida’s love.
  • Flerida. The woman who saved Laura; Aladin’s love.
  • Count Adolfo. A traitor; son of Count Sileno; Florante’s rival in Athens who is very envious of Florante’s achievement.
  • Menandro. Florante’s classmate and faithful best friend; Florante’s right hand in the battle.

Minor characters:

  • Duke Briseo. Father of Florante; Princess Floresca’s husband; King Linceo’s adviser.
  • Princess Floresca. Mother of Florante; wife of Duke Briseo, Princess of Crotona.
  • King Linceo. King of Albania; father of Laura.
  • Antenor. Florante’s reliable mentor while he was studying in Athens, Greece.
  • Count Sileno. Count Adolfo’s father; also from Albania.
  • General Miramolin. Headed the Turkish troops invading Albania.
  • General Osmalic. A Persian general who wanted to invade Croton.
  • Sultan Ali-Adab. King of Persia; father of Aladin; who also desired Aladin’s love, Flerida.
  • Menalipo. Florante’s cousin who saved him from a vulture that almost snatched him from his cradle.
  • King of Crotona. Princess Floresca’s father and the grandfather of Florante.

Florante at Laura summary

The story begins with a description of a dark, dangerous, deserted forest in the kingdom of Albania, that is inhabited by serpents, basilisks, hyenas, and tigers. Deep in the heart of the depressing jungle where the tangled growth of vines and thickets intertwined, and the great canopy of heavy foliaged trees formed a roof over the dismal jungle clearing, the moans and anguished cries of a forsaken man filled the savage stillness of the air. The man is tied to a tree and is barely alive. He is Florante, the son of Duke Briseo and Princess Floresca. He has blonde hair, fair smooth skin, and a face and body that is comparable to that of Narcissus and Adonis.

Florante, while tied to a tree, questions the heavens for the suffering of the people of Albania. Here he describes the treachery and suffering that are happening inside and outside of the kingdom of Albania. Gone are the days of peace and justice, innocent people have become victims of those who are hungry for power and money. Those who fought to save the kingdom have suffered grievously. He mentions that Count Adolfo was said to be behind the treachery with his plot to steal the crown from King Linceo and the wealth of Duke Briseo. Florante begs heaven to save the kingdom of Albania.

The man tells the heavens that he can take whatever trial or challenge that may come his way as long as Laura will always remember him. Aside from all that is happening to Albania, he takes refuge in the memories of the times he shared with Laura. He mentions that he would be pleased to see Laura crying over his dead body if Laura would betray him. With this, he imagines Laura in the arms of Count Adolfo. This thought brings him to tears and devastation which made him tired and cause him to pass out.

The man cries for Laura to save him, but she does not come. With this, the man thinks that Count Adolfo has finally stolen Laura from him. He mentions that he will thank Count Adolfo for all the hardship as long as he doesn’t take Laura from him. With too much to bear, the man cries in despair and faints.

In another part of the forest comes Aladin, a Muslim soldier. He sits on a stump and professes his love for a woman named Flerida. He talks about his overwhelming love for Flerida and vows to kill for the sake of love. He says that no one can stand in his way nor is there anyone who can take his love from her, not even his father. He also says that love can make a person blind to the truth and make him forget about reason and honor.

After professing his love for Flerida, the Muslim soldier hears a voice in the forest. This voice talks about the brutal death of his loving father. The man talks about how his father was beheaded and had his body thrown somewhere else. No one attempted to bury his father’s remains for fear of Count Adolfo’s wrath. Even without seeing his father, the man knew that the old man was thinking of him until the end of his life.

While tied to a tree, Florante was approached by two lingering lions. But the lions did not seem to attack, thinking that the man might already be dead. Realizing the approach of death, the man says his farewell to Albania, the land he wished to serve since he was a child, and to Laura, whom he will forever love.

Upon hearing the man’s cries, Aladin set off to find the man. His timing was impeccable because the lions were about to attack Florante. With a swift motion of his weapon, the Muslim soldier killed the two lions. With his courage and precision in combat, he was compared to Mars, the god of war.

After rescuing Florante, Aladin frees him and lays him down. Florante wakes up delirious looking for Laura. The Muslim soldier does not respond and Florante goes back to sleep. When he finally wakes up, Florante is surprised to see an enemy taking care of him. Aladin told him that he wishes the man no harm and that the command of heaven to help is what’s important. The man said that he did not want the soldiers’ pity, what he needs is death. Aladin yelled at him for speaking such nonsense.

Due to all that they have been through recently, Aladin and Florante decide to become silent. When nightfall comes, Aladin carried Florante and rests on a flat rock. The Muslim soldier feeds Florante and has him sleep on his lap. He watches over Florante because he is still delirious and he is devastated every time the latter wakes up. In the morning, Florante thanks Aladin for what he has done for him. The soldier asked Florante why he was so devastated, and the latter willingly narrated his story.

The man tells the Muslim soldier that his name is Florante. Florante tells him that he came from Albania and that he is the son of Duke Briseo, second in command of the kingdom, and Princess Floresca of nearby Kingdom of Crotona. He proudly talks about his father saying what a brave and kind man he was. He also emphasizes that there is no one who can outdo his father in loving a child and in teaching him good manners. Florante also spoke of two accounts when he almost died as a child. One was when he was almost caught by a vulture but was rescued by his cousin Menalipo. The other was when someone attempted to take the diamond that was on his chest.

Florante spoke about his happy childhood. When he was a child, he loved playing outdoors and hunting. He realized that a child must not be raised with too much freedom and security because life is tough when one grows older. He also says that a child will have difficulty in facing challenges if he is too pampered and safe as a child. Duke Briseo taught him how to stand alone by sending him to Athens to study under Antenor.

Florante studies in Athens under Antenor. He becomes homesick and longs to be with his parents again but he is comforted by Antenor. Adolfo, a boy from Albania and the son of Duke Sileno, becomes his classmate. Adolfo is two years older than him and is admired by everyone in school for his wisdom and kindness. Due to his intelligence, Florante was able to learn the lessons about philosophy, astrology and mathematics in no time at all which astonished his teachers. He even surpassed Adolfo in all aspects and became known all across Athens. Everyone distrusted the kindness that Adolfo is showing. In a sporting competition, Adolfo’s true color began to show; which aroused the people’s suspicions.

During a play performed by the students, Adolfo attempted to kill Florante but did not succeed due to his classmate Menandro’s interference. After two months, Florante received a letter from his father bringing bad news and summoning him to come home. It was difficult for Florante to say his goodbyes to his classmates and his mentor, Antenor. Before leaving, Antenor advised Florante not to be too trusting because there are enemies all around. Florante went home with his friend, Menandro. Upon arriving at Albania, Florante cried when he saw his father. After he calmed down, Duke Briseo told Florante about the death of Princess Floresca.

The emissary of Crotona came to Albania with a letter asking for help in saving Crotona from the Persian invaders headed by General Osmalic. Florante pauses to praise Aladin, saying that the general is only second to Aladin in combat skill. With this, Aladin smiles and says that rumors are not necessarily true. Returning to his story, Florante said that he and his father went to King Linceo to discuss how they could help Crotona. King Linceo appointed Florante to lead the army that will help save Crotona.

During their visit to King Linceo, Florante saw Laura, the daughter of the king. He was mesmerized by Laura’s beauty. He became speechless and stuttered a lot in the presence of Laura. After talking about Laura, Florante’s mind drifts toward horrible thoughts about Laura’s unfaithfulness.

Before setting off to war, King Linceo threw a feast for Florante. The celebration lasted for three days and within this period, he did not get to see Laura. The day before he set to war, Florante saw Laura and he professed his love. Laura did not give him a straight answer, instead she cried and Florante took this as a sign of Laura’s reciprocation of his feelings.

General Osmalic and Florante finally meet and they battled for five hours until Florante was able to defeat the general. Florante was able to save Crotona from the hands of the enemy with the help of Menandro and his troops. The people rejoiced their victory especially when they learned that Florante is the king’s grandson. But Florante and the king did not rejoice with them for they remembered Princess Floresca and mourned for her death. Five months had passed when Florante decided to return to Albania to be with Laura again. On his journey back, Florante became weary when he saw the Muslim flag swaying over Albania.

Florante hid in the outskirts at the foot of the mountain to observe what is happening. He saw a woman tied and blindfolded who is about to be beheaded. He remembered Laura and hastily went to rescue the woman. He fought the Muslims and rescued the woman who happened to be Laura herself. Laura told Florante about Albania had been conquered. They went back and redeemed country from the invaders. Florante freed the captives including King Linceo, Duke Briseo, and Count Adolfo. The king honored Florante for his bravery and Florante won Laura’s affection. With the victory of Florante, Adolfo’s hatred and envy deepened and he planned to take revenge against Florante.

A few months have passed when Albania was last invaded, when the Turkish army, headed by General Miramolin disturbed its peace. The Turkish invaders did not succeed because Florante defeated him. After this, Florante successfully won many battles which earned him the respect of thirteen kings. One day, while Florante was in the middle of a war, he received a letter ordering him to return immediately to Albania. He left the war under the command of Menandro and set off to return to Albania. Upon arriving, he was surprised to be welcomed by 20,000 soldiers who abducted him. Here he learned that Adolfo had ordered for his father, Duke Briseo, and King Linceo to be beheaded. He also learned that Laura was engaged to Count Adolfo. Florante was imprisoned for 18 days then was transferred to the forest where he was tied to an Acacia tree. He had been in the forest for two days when the Muslim soldier found and rescued him.

After Florante narrated his story, the Muslim soldier introduces himself as Aladin, son of Sultan Ali-Adab of Persia. Aladdin tells Florante that he will tell his own stoiry in due time because he needs some time to collect himself.

After wandering around the forest for five months, Aladin begins to narrate his story. He says that his father is the root of all his suffering. His father became his rival for his love, Flerida. In order to succeed, Sultan Ali-Adab plotted a scheme to behead Aladin by framing him as the cause of the downfall of the Persian invaders that resulted to Florante’s victory in Albania. On the night before Aladin’s execution, Sultan Ali-Adab forgave Aladin on the condition that he would flee Persia and never return. Aladin agreed but could not accept the idea of Flerida in the arms of another man. Since then, Aladin has been a wanderer of the forest for six years. He suddenly stops his story when they heard voices in the forest.

The two men heard voices of women. One of the women narrated the story she heard about the danger that her lover was in. She begged the Sultan not to push through with his beheading in exchange for her agreement to marry him. The Sultan agreed and her lover was set free, leaving, without saying goodbye. One night, while everyone was busy with the wedding preparations, the woman who happens to be Flerida, disguised herself as a soldier and escaped. She wandered the forest hoping to find her love. Here in the forest is where the two women met when Flerida saved Laura who was about to be assaulted by a man. They stopped talking when they hear footsteps approaching and were surprised to see Florante and Aladdin.

Laura narrates her story. It began when Florante left to battle the Persian invaders. Adolfo ordered that the king and his loyal servants be beheaded. Adolfo took over the throne and forced Laura to marry him. It took five months for him to court Laura but she did not waver in her decision not to marry him. After Florante was sent to die in the forest, Menandro and his men returned to Albania and overthrew Adolfo. Adolfo would not accept defeat; instead he took Laura and his men to the forest. Here Adolfo saw no escape and decided to rape Laura right there. Upon hearing a woman’s cry for help, Flerida came to the rescue and killed Adolfo with an arrow.

Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Menandro and his toops. Upon seeing Florante, he rejoices to see his friend. The two couples return to Albania where they are warmly welcomed. Flerida and Aladdin agreed to be baptized as Christians. Both couples are wed and Florante and Laura rule over Albania with justice, peace, and harmony. When Sultan Ali-Adab dies, Aladdin and Flerida return to Persia and they rule over the people happily.


  • http://www.kapitbisig.com/philippines/florante-at-laura-by-francisco-baltazar-booknotes-summary-in-english-the-story-the-summary-of-florante-at-laura_954.html
  • www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15845
  • www.goodreads.com/author/show/843653.Francisco_Balagtas

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