In the film The Mission (1986), who was Captain Mendoza and what was his job?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the UK film The Mission (1986), starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons, Spanish Captain Mendoza is a slave trader who finds himself in danger, has a religious awakening, applies to become a Catholic priest and, high atop a South American mountain, devotes himself to helping a Jesuit priest convert the native Indians to Christianity and a peaceful existence.

Captain Mendoza, played by Robert De Niro, had the misfortune of killing his brother in a blinding rage. He had to flee for his life. The Jesuit priest, Father Gabriel, played by Jeremy Irons, found Mendoza on the verge of taking his own life in regret for his deed and saved him. In turn, Mendoza accepted Father Gabriel's beliefs and joined him in the priesthood and in bringing peace to the native Indian inhabitants.

Their dream and success were soon shattered by the acquisition of the land by the Portuguese who reintroduced slavery. In order to try to save the native Indians from Portuguese slavery, Mendoza broke his priestly vows, strapped on his sword and led the Indian natives in their fight against the Portuguese.