Literary Analysis Essay
In Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather, Antonio Joseph Martinez is presented as a corrupt and a very licentious individual. It is said that Padre Martinez orchestrated and was the cause of the Taos Indian Rebellion in 1847. In the catholic religion, priest take vows of celibacy, Padre Martinez breaks these vows with all of his promiscuous behavior. In the novel, Martinez is portrayed as more of a political figure, teacher and a role model rather than a spiritual leader. Although Cather displays Martinez in such a negative light, some people believe that Antonio Joseph Martinez made some positive contributions to society.
In the novel, Padre Martinez is ...view middle of the document...
Martinez promised to save their lives if they would deed him their lands, near the pueblo. This they did, and after the conveyance was properly executed the Padre troubled himself no more about the materâ€¦â€ (139-140). It is said, that on the morning the accused were to be hung Martinez was not anywhere to be found.
Padre Martinez is displayed as lustful and sexually promiscuous in Catherâ€™s eyes. Martinez argues, â€œCelibacy may be all very well for the French clergy, but not for ours. St. Augustine himself says it is better not to go against nature...â€ (145) In this quote, Padre Martinez tells Father Latour that celibacy vows for catholic priest are meant to be broken. Martinez goes on to say, â€œCelibate priests loose their perceptions. No priest can experience repentance and forgiveness of sin unless he himself falls in to sin. Since concupiscence is the most common form of temptation, it is better for him, to know something about it. The soul can not be humbled by fasts and prayer; it must be broken by mortal sin to experience forgiveness of sin and rise to a state of grace. Otherwise religion is nothing but dead logic.â€ (146) Essentially, Martinez is arguing that a priest that preaches about sin is a hypocrite until he actually goes out and commits sin himself.
Father Martinez played an important role in New Mexico in the nineteenth century. As both an educator and publisher, Padre Martinez established the first co-educational primary school in Taos in 1826. In 1833 he established a college preparatory Latin school for prospective native New Mexican seminarians. He expanded his curriculum to include courses in civil law. The padreâ€™s students went on to become some of the most important New Mexican Hispano leaders of the second half of the nineteenth-century, and his alumni included the first Hispanic federal judge in New Mexico, leading legal scholars, numerous territorial legislators and even U S Congressional delegates. (Martinez) Martinez