Literary Analysis Essay
In Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather, Antonio Joseph Martinez is presented as a corrupt and a very licentious individual. It is said that Padre Martinez orchestrated and was the cause of the Taos Indian Rebellion in 1847. In the catholic religion, priest take vows of celibacy, Padre Martinez breaks these vows with all of his promiscuous behavior. In the novel, Martinez is portrayed as more of a political figure, teacher and a role model rather than a spiritual leader. Although Cather displays Martinez in such a negative light, some people believe that Antonio Joseph Martinez made some positive contributions to society.
In the novel, Padre Martinez is implicated in the Taos rebellion of 1847 that lead to the massacre of Governor Charles Bent. “In 1841 Governor Manuel Armijo approved a large grant on the east side of the mountains to Charles Beaubien and Guadalupe Miranda, one-quarter interest in the grant was also given surreptitiously to Charles Bent. Martinez heard of the approval of the Beaubien-Miranda grant (later called the Maxwell land grant), and he protested against the granting of such vast lands to two foreigners, Beaubien and Bent. He stated, with the support of Taos Pueblo leaders, that the grant illegally included traditional communal grazing and hunting lands of the Pueblo. He also stated that the grant was detrimental to the Hispanic people of the Taos area and that the lands should be available to poor farmers for grazing” (William H. Worth). These deeds of land eventually led to the Taos Indian revolt of 1847. On January 14 Governor Bent traveled to his home in Taos, not expecting any trouble he went without military assistance. On the morning of the January 19 a group of
Hispanics and Taos Indians broke in to his home and killed him. Cather states in her novel, “The Indians who were sentenced to death had sent for their Padre and begged him to get them out of the trouble he
had gotten them in to....