What is Azuela's message in The Underdogs regarding the ironic transformation of Demetrio Macías and the revolutionaries?

Quick answer:

Mariano Azuela’s message in conjuring this steady, ironic metamorphosis is that striving to achieve basic rights is very different from trying to maintain power. Beginning their uphill battle as underdogs, Demetrio Macías and the revolutionaries hope to gain dignity and respect as well as land. As they achieve things previously denied to them, they are swayed by superficial privileges. Caught up in an endless cycle of violence, they become as cruel as those who once oppressed them.

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In tracing the course of the revolution from the perspective of those at the lower end of the social hierarchy, Mariano Azuela emphasizes the difficulty of achieving basic human and civil rights. Through the course of the novel, he shows the vast difference between the struggle to achieve one’s goals and the effort to hold onto the things one has gained while not sacrificing one’s ideals.

The revolutionaries were dedicated to gaining not just control over land, but also the respect of those who had denigrated and dispossessed them. The novel experience of being in a powerful position goes to their heads. Using the rationale of seeking retribution for the atrocities that were once committed against them, they run the risk of losing their humanity. Rather than seeing violence as a means to an end, they seem to enjoy committing wanton acts of cruelty.

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