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UBC Theses and Dissertations

De la crónica a la escena : Arauco en el teatro del Siglo de Oro Lee, Monica L.


The encounter between Spain and the New World --the Americas-- is one of the distinctive historical events of the 15th century. So it is surprising that there is very little reference to the Americas in the many plays remaining from the Spanish Golden Age theatre. This thesis studies six plays centering on the Arauco wars in Southern Chile and the figure of one of the first governors of that country, don Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza. The main objective of this study is to demonstrate to what extent the literary elaboration of the topic contributed to the vision of the New World held by the Spanish public. The dramatists that dealt with this theme did not have any direct contact with the Americas, therefore their representation of that world was based on oral accounts and literary sources available at the time. Among the latter are the letters of a conqueror, two chronicles, two epic poems and a panegiric text. The first part of this thesis consists of the textual analysis of this literary corpus. The main focus of the analysis is the influence of these sources on the dramas and how the characteristics of each genre contributed to their creation. The analysis of the dramatic works with Araucanian content (five plays and one auto sacramental) forms the second part of this thesis. The approach centers particularly on the representation of the Indian world as the "Other" opposed to the Spanish world. The analysis of these texts shows the subtle evolutionary process by which the treatment of the historical fact --Arauco and the Conquest-- in the theatre contributed to create the "idea" of America held at the time in Spain. Also, the re-elaboration of characters and motives indicates the emergence of native mythical figures which have become part of the historic and cultural patrimony of Chile today.

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