Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Spanish

First Advisor

Dr. Natalio Ohanna

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Felkel

Third Advisor

Dr. Pablo Pastrana-Pérez

Fourth Advisor

Dr. María del Pilar Chouza-Calo

Abstract

This dissertation explores the representations of America and Amerindians in the theater of the Spanish Golden Age over a period of sixty-six years. This study analyzes a corpus of six dramatic pieces that portray the processes of the conquest and colonization in the space of the ancient Inca Empire. The first comedy, El nuevo rey Gallinato y ventura por desgracia, represent South America and exhibits an idealized view of it that attracts and promises much to the conqueror. The Amerindian is depicted as being similar to the Spaniard, provided he agrees to be evangelized. The second comedy, Las palabras a los reyes y la gloria de los Pizarro, is a commissioned work and exalts the honor and the courage of Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of the Tahuantinsuyo. The Amerindian is personified as a spiritually lost being and a tyrant and oppressor of his own people, which legitimizes the conquest. In the same vein, Tirso de Molina wrote his trilogy with a comedy dedicated to each of the Pizarro brothers. Todo es dar en una cosa is about the origins and childhood of Francisco Pizarro; Amazonas en las Indias, portrays Gonzalo Pizarro as loyal to the Crown during the civil wars; and Lealtad contra la envidia shows the innocence of Fernando Pizarro, prisoner in La Mota. Both Vélez de Guevara and Tirso de Molina write these comedies to recover a lost title of nobility given to Francisco Pizarro. Finally, La aurora en Copacabana by Calderón de la Barca is a religious comedy that, in contrast to the other theatrical works, depicts the religious conquest of Tahuantinsuyo. The Amerindian is represented with the spiritual and rational ability to reject paganism and choose Christianity. All these comedies show a providential view of the actions of Spain in America. Amerindian stereotypes are repeated in all of these works and serve a propagandist purpose in times of crisis. In the same way, through the voice of the Amerindian, the dramatists of these comedies show their disagreement with the state in which they had to write, sliding a critical, moralizing, and didactic opinion that appeals to the spectator. In all these comedies, the conquering enterprise of America serves as a founding myth for a nation whose identity was developing.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until

4-15-2027

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