Silva, Antonio José da (əntôˈnyŏ zhŏzĕˈ dä sēlˈvə) [key], 1705–39, Portuguese playwright, b. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He belonged to a family of "New Christians" (Jews forced to convert), suspected of remaining secretly loyal to Judaism. Silva practiced law in Portugal and wrote a number of vigorous, satiric plays. They are related to the commedia dell'arte but have more vitality than polish. Among them are A vida do grande Dom Quixote [the life of Don Quixote] (1733) and Guerras do alecrim e da mangerona [wars between the rosemary and the marjoram] (1737), considered Silva's best work. Brought before the Inquisition in 1737, he and his family were convicted of practicing Jewish rites, strangled, and burned at the stake.
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