Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Dramatizations of Conquest: The Imperial Plays of Rojas Zorrilla and González de Bustos

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2004), 81, (1), 5–23.

Abstract

Debates concerning Spain's imperial policy were waged throughout the early modern period. This study explores two plays written during the waning years of imperial activity. The Rojas Zorrilla diptych, Numancia cercada and Numancia destruida, and González de Bustos' Los españoles en Chile recycle many of the techniques employed by Cervantes' Numancia and Lope de Vega's Arauco domado over half a century earlier. The two dramatists incorporate significant plot innovations and aesthetic deviations from their earlier models; however, the contradictory representation of European conqueror and of indigenous otherness remained consistent. This consistency is not an indication of slavish imitation on the part of late baroque writers. Rather, they document the persistence of discourses which simultaneously demonize the object of conquest and also romanticize that other. Contradictory representations of conquered peoples persist to this very day, as documented in the field of postcolonial scholarship.

Los debates sobre la política imperial española persistieron a lo largo del Siglo de Oro. Este estudio explora dos dramas escritos durante los años finales de la actividad imperial. El díptico de Rojas Zorrilla, Numancia cercada y Numancia destruida, y González de Bustos en Los españoles en Chile reciclan muchas técnicas empleadas por Cervantes en Numancia y por Lope de Vega en Arauco domado, medio siglo antes. Los dos dramaturgos incorporan innovaciones de argumentos y estética de los modelos anteriores; pero la repetición contradictoria del conquistador europeo y la del indígena como ajena permanece consistente. Esta consistencia no implica ninguna imitación servil por parte de los autores del barroco tardío, más bien documentan la persistencia de los discursos que simultáneamente presentan al objeto de la conquista como diabólico y lo romantizan. Las representaciones contradictorias del otro conquistado persisten hoy en día tal y como documenta el campo de estudios postcoloniales.

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Simerka, Barbara