The Myth of La Malinche: From the Chronicles to Modern Mexican Theater
In the changing discourse on Mexican history, La Malinche has evolved from a historical figure of the Conquest to a national myth and a symbol of all those who have allied themselves with foreigners against their own country and its native values and traditions. On the other hand, La Malinche is regarded as the symbolic mother of the mestizos. This thesis proposes to analyze the figure of La Malinche as both a historical actor in the Conquest of Mexico and as a myth in the creation of contemporary Mexican national identity. Consequently, this study takes into account the chronicles of the conquerors, later Romantic versions, and contemporary cultural and historiographical studies. This study analyzes the changing image of La Malinche in national discourse, especially following Mexico's independence from Spain and the Mexican Revolution, whereupon Mexicans searched for a national identity. It also analyzes different interpretations of twentieth-century scholars as they attempt to vindicate La Malinche from her myth as traitor. Instead, in these interpretations, La Malinche is seen playing important roles as interpreter, strategist, mediator between two different cultures, and feminist symbol. Finally, I rely on twentieth-century Mexican theater to show how the myth of La Malinche is being used, questioned, and revised on stage in accordance with current historiography and socio-economic conditions in Mexico.