Don Rodrigo (rrohd-REE-goh), a Spanish nobleman who loves Doña Prouheze, who is married to an elderly judge, Don Pelagio. Rodrigo’s desire to sleep with her is frustrated when she leaves for the African city of Mogador to represent Spanish interests there. As the years pass, Rodrigo becomes an amoral colonial administrator who ruthlessly exploits Indians in Central America. He travels to Mogador just before Prouheze dies. She tells him that religion has brought her extraordinary joy. Her stoic acceptance of death transforms Rodrigo into an altruistic Christian. When he is offered a high governmental position near the end of the play, Rodrigo politely informs the king that he can accept this appointment if Spain ends its exploitation of the New World. Rodrigo believes that Christ’s teachings are incompatible with colonialism. Rodrigo’s remarks offend the king of Spain, who has him arrested on the charge of treason. Rodrigo will end his life in slavery.
Doña Prouheze (proo-EH-seh), an attractive and young Spanish noblewoman who marries an elderly judge, Don Pelagio. Bored in her arranged marriage, she falls in love with Rodrigo, but they never sleep together. She is lonely, and Pelagio seems incapable of understanding her feelings. He does not even accompany her to the harsh African fortress of Mogador. She marries Camillo, an army officer, after Pelagio’s death, and at his hand she endures physical and psychological abuse. She and Camillo have a daughter, Doña Sevenswords. Despite or perhaps because of her unjust suffering, Prouheze grows spiritually in Mogador. She experiences great religious happiness, and she accepts her...
(The entire section is 723 words.)