From any angle that we tried to see it, John Dryden’s, The India Emperor was a satirical overview of what society tended to be during his time. Yet, we see such blasphemy to this day with gender inequality within most countries of the world, especially in the United States amongst others. To many, this was considered to be the defining work in the sub-genre of heroic drama, but there was merely any joyful scenario to even categorize it as such. We undergo through the conflict of love and honor, and the Emperor of Mexico Montezuma was the primary character to influence with such beliefs that love is much more important than whatever status he has in place;
“But of my crown thou too much care dost take;
That which I value more, my love’s at stake.”
To contrast this, Cortez, the Spanish General, takes the complete opposite route and turns back on his love for the obedience of his king, more than willingly knowing that the order commanded to him were flawed. A power whore? Yes, but that’s something that subliminally Dryden tries to convey to the reader; no such power can overlap a strong bond of love. Unfortunately for Montezuma, he never ended with a happy conclusion, as his suicide was the end of all that’s pure in love when overseeing power amongst others.
“Already mine is past: O powers divine,
Take my last thanks: no longer I repine;
I might have lived my own mishap to mourn,
While some would pity me, but more would scorn!
For pity only on fresh objects stays,
But with the tedious sight of woes decays.
Still less and less my boiling spirits flow;
And I grow stiff, as cooling metals do.
Dryden excellently portrays Cortez as deviously high-minded and magnanimous, to show what sort of influence the Spaniards are as oppressive and cruel to never establish social equilibrium amongst all people. In today’s time, we emphasize the notion of current feminist movements and insinuates that patriarchal norms that we challenge in today’s’ society aren’t equal as we set to foresee them. Men and Women are never treated equally, even to this day, we will always have something that would stray us more apart than bring us close together.
– Stephen Muñoz