Aguirre Essay

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Aguirre, the Wrath of God Write-Up This film is a dramatization and fictionalization of the Spanish exploration of the New World. Though it is a work of fiction it draws heavily from actual accounts of what these exploratory travels were like. The hardships, lush but treacherous landscape, relations with natives, and many other details from the film mirror such details from genuine accounts such as that of De Vaca. The film portrays the Spanish exploration of the Americas as one of hardship and cruelty. When the Spanish arrive on the shores of the New World they are taken aback with the verdure and beautiful landscape. However, they soon realize that its beauty is only rivaled by its viciousness. The beginning of the film shows the Spanish party with a crew of captured Indians. This demonstrates the Spanish belief in their white superiority and the inhumane treatment of the Native population. As the Spanish march through the jungle they realize that the land makes an effective journey too difficult so they order an exploratory party to go out ahead. Their journey (on raft and land) is difficult and supplies begin to run low. Members of the party die. As a result there is internal dissention among the group. By the end of the film, only Aguirre is left standing and even his future is in doubt. This film is very similar to the readings. Many key facts and ideas are shared among them. Low survival rate is one of these. The Columbus letters reveal that many people from his original party perished soon after their arrival to the New World (due to a harsh environment and Native hostility). This is also mentioned in the Casas reading. The topic of low survival rates is key to De Vaca’s narrative as he is only one of 4 survivors from a party of 600. Cruelty towards Indians is also mentioned and explored in all four, more or less. Columbus had Native slaves, Casas
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