Damas indias: America's Iconic Body and the Wars of Conquest in the Spanish Comedia.

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    • Abstract:
      In the comedias de Indias, the Christianization of America, the glory of the Spanish monarchs, and the deeds of the conquistadors are showcased as the motivations that drive the wars of conquest. The visual iconography developed in Europe after the encounter with America allegorized the New World as a woman whose nude body and aggressive nature was framed by exotic flora and fauna. In contrast, Europa was portrayed as a fully dressed woman surrounded by symbols of order, knowledge, religion, and war. This representation reinforced the notion of Europaís self-assigned rightful ownership of true culture and civilization and a right for conquest and colonization. This need for America to be conquered in order to conform to Europa's idealized perception of culture and civilization is fictionalized in the comedias de Indias, in which the playwrights present onstage the sensual, exotic, and aggressive nature of the indigenous females, and the Christian and civilizing purpose of the European conquistadors. The romantic desires connecting the damas indias to the galanes españoles, the complexity of the intrigues and romances as presented on the stage and the visual iconography of the period evidence how the battles between the conquistadors and the indigenous men can be seen as symbolic attempts to wrest America away from the galanes indios who tenuously possess her. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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