Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews October 5, 2023
September 28, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
*See discount terms and conditions.
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
Melibea’s girdle functions as a contradictory symbol for both Calisto’s carnal desire and Melibea’s innocence and virtue. When Melibea sends Calisto the girdle, it is an innocent act. It has been purported to have touched holy relics in Rome and Jerusalem, and Celestina pretends Calisto needs it to heal a toothache. When Calisto receives the girdle, he doesn’t cherish it as a relic but instead fondles it like it were Melibea herself. Calisto perverts the garment into something sexual. This represents their connection later, when Melibea pleads unsuccessfully with Calisto to accept her love without destroying her virtue. The garment becomes a symbol of love itself, something that is both holy and earthly. When Calisto mistakes the girdle for Melibea herself, it parallels every young lover’s mistake in treating sexuality as the entirety of love itself, a concept that is far more complex, as the novel shows.
When Calisto gives Celestina the gold chain as a reward, it is a casual act. It’s the only item of value he has on his person at the time and not worth much to him. To Celestina, Sempronio, and Pármeno, however, it is very valuable. The gold chain symbolizes the differences in perception between the social classes. Furthermore, the chain cannot be divided like currency. Celestina can’t share the chain because cutting it up would strip it of its value. Celestina has promised that she’ll share the rewards with Sempronio and Pármeno but can’t. The chain also symbolizes greed, since Celestina refuses to hand it over to them, and they kill her over it. Celestina herself had warned that the rich have problems too, since their wealth makes them targets and even their children wait eagerly for them to die so they can inherit their wealth. In an ironic turn of fate, Celestina’s warning applies to her in the brief moment she’s wealthy.
The ladder used twice by Calisto to scale Melibea’s wall and enter her room becomes a symbol for both Calisto’s and Melibea’s destruction. The ladder represents Calisto and Melibea’s secret agreement to meet in her bedroom behind her father’s back. As Melibea agrees to the use of the ladder, it represents the way by which Calisto can scale past Melibea’s defenses both metaphorically and literally. Their meeting is forbidden, and symbolically as well, as they first meet in a garden, echoing Adam and Eve’s transgressions in the Bible. By ascending the ladder, Calisto can gain access to Melibea without going through a rigorous courting process through her father. Melibea later jumps from the tower, tracing the path Calisto previously climbed in reverse. In her heartache, Melibea falls to her death to meet with Calisto in the afterworld. Like the other characters in the novel, Calisto and Melibea rise and fall in status through devious means and, for a brief moment, feel what it’s like to be outside their norms.