War, violence, and power all play a large role in both the reinforcement of and complicating of recurrent intolerant behavior during King Philip’s War against the indigenous people. This is conveyed through the actions of both the native Algonquins and English colonizers through Rowlandson’s narrative, where they help to establish a change seen when comparing prior depictions such as John Dryden’s The Indian Emperour, or the Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards.
Mary Rowlandson’s narrative focuses on violence when detailing her interactions with the native Algonquins, which reinforces intolerance against the native American indigenous people. Rowlandson’s narrative opens up with her recounting of the horror she faced in the Lancaster Raid of 1675; in which it was “the dreadful hour come…often heard of in time of war” where she recounts: “from all which places they shot against the house, so that the bullets seemed to fly like hail; quickly they wounded one man among us, then another, and then a third” (Rowlandson). Her recounting paints a terrifying picture of violent raiders and victims “wallowing in their blood,” one where war and violence plays a large role in shaping the narrative and dynamic between her captors and herself as a captive slave. This helps to reinforce the idea of intolerance against the natives through her choice of language in the introduction, seeing the Wampanoag as a “company of hell-hounds,” demons, and “infidels.”
However, there remains a large shift in this narrative, complicating the recurrent intolerant behavior, partly due to the close relationship developed between Mary Rowlandson and King Philip. This development begins to complicate the recurrent intolerant behavior due to the absence of violence — for a narrative piece taking place during King Philip’s (own) War, there’s a surprising lack of violence seen when the two are together, and it can be argued that the two leave on seemingly friendly terms, given the circumstances. In the Eighth Remove, she seemingly hides a close moment establishing a relationship with Metacom, offering her a smoke from a tobacco-pipe. In this context, his offering of a smoke with a ceremonial pipe could imply his intention “to make a ceremonial commitment, or to seal a covenant or treaty” (wikipedia.org). Rowlandson’s lack of response reinforces the idea that something may have occurred with the way she later recounts Metacom in The Twentieth Remove, where he “then Philip…called [her] to him, and asked [her] what I would give him, to tell [her] some good news, and speak a good word for [her]…[she] thanked him for his love,” he then afterwards opposing her leaving and going home to her husband. Her cross-cultural exchange, sharing a pipe with King Philip and eventual cross-cultural relationship established with Metacom helps to show a different outlook on the seemingly hardened intolerance; violence and bloodshed help to perpetuate a continuation of intolerance and mistreatment of the native Wampanoag.
This “cross-cultural exchange” with Rowlandson and the native Algonquins can be compared to the conquest of the native Aztecs in Dryden’s The Indian Emperour, where the cross-cultural exchange, or more explicit conquest, shows other signs of exchange with the development of a romantic subplot between many of the major European conquistadors and the native Aztec women. Power is highlighted, however, in a propaganda-based fashion in order to establish a domineering power over not only the “lesser natives” but also women, which we see power in the form of an almost romanticized version of violence.