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"Sois de diablos": portraying indigenous female characters on the golden age stage

Faculty Advisor




theatre, Spanish women, playwrights, Indigenous women, female Indigenous characters, ruling class, Spanish society, neglected group, historical figures, golden age

Abstract (summary)

The essay discusses three theoretical approaches to one of the most neglected groups of the time: indigenous women. Indigenous women, as historical figures, were mostly erased from the record. When Golden Age authors wished to reinterpret historical events, particularly those having to do with the conquest, the female indigenous characters were the least complex characters through whom critiques could be voiced. The three potential theoretical approaches to the characterization of the indigenous woman in Early Modern Spanish theatre that I am proposing are the “Other as Other,” the “Other as Same,” and the “Double Other.” The section on “Other as Other” looks at the ways in which female indigenous characters were portrayed in oppositional and exotic roles; “Other as Same” discusses the portrayal of indigenous women as so similar to Spanish women as to be indistinguishable; and the “Double Other” analyzes characters that were given traits that belonged to women on both sides of the Atlantic. All three of these were used strategically by the playwrights to critique not only the conquest, but also Spanish society and members of the ruling class on both sides of the Atlantic. (EAC)

Publication Information

Cowling, Erin. “‘Sois de diablos:’ Portraying Indigenous Female Characters on the Golden Age Stage.” Bulletin of the Comediantes, 67.2, 2015, pp. 131-156. DOI: 10.1353/boc.2015.0022


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