The Religious Body Imagined - Pamela D. Winfield

The Religious Body Imagined - Pamela D. Winfield

5. Lope’s El Hamete de Toledo: The Infidel’s Body as Conquered Land

The Religious Body Imagined - Pamela D. Winfield

Mina Garcia [+-]
Elon University
Mina Garcia is Professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Elon University and specializes in continental and colonial Spanish literature of the 16th-21st centuries. Her first book Magic, Sorcery and Witchcraft: Between La Celestina and Cervantes (Magia, Hechiceria y Brujeria: Entre La Celestina y Cervantes" (Renacimiento, 2011) was recently followed by her second book Idolatry and the Construction of the Spanish Empire (University Press of Colorado, 2019). Throughout her numerous articles and chapter contributions, Garcia explores the role of literature in the expansion of the Spanish empire, Early Modern Spanish literature, transatlantic studies, Latin American colonial culture and literature, the relation between society and superstition in the early modern period, and the spiritual and territorial conquest of the Americas, especially colonial Mexico.


Set in the aftermath of the Moriscos expulsion decree, El Hamete de Toledo by Lope de Vega has found a new relevance on stage and in the political debates linked to the current immigration crisis. This paper aims to rethink the current victimization of Muslims as seen in the version presented by AlmaViva Teatro, a Spanish company that used the tragedy of Early Modern Spain to connect to a contemporary audience, thirsty for social justice. To this end, I will focus on the treatment of Hamete, a Moor imprisoned in Spain and whose body becomes the symbol of the Other to be conquered. As such, along the play, his body is vilified, dehumanized, chained and tortured. The culmination of this process coincides with the final act, the moment of his conversion, but also of the physical dismemberment of his body, a brutal ritualistic sacrifice in the name of eternal salvation.

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Garcia, Mina. 5. Lope’s El Hamete de Toledo: The Infidel’s Body as Conquered Land. The Religious Body Imagined. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 105-122 Jul 2024. ISBN 9781781799727. Date accessed: 21 Jul 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.39649. Jul 2024

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