Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Modern Foreign Languages

Major Professor

Óscar Rivera Rodas

Committee Members

Nuria Cruz-Cámara, Eurídice Silva, Jana Morgan


This dissertation examines the historical and political vision of Mexico in the following plays: Felipe Ángeles by Elena Garro (1916-1998); El eterno femenino by Rosario Castellanos (1925-1974); La paz ficticia by Luisa Josefina Hernández (1928) and Tlacaélel, Felipe Carrillo Puerto: Una flor para tu sueño y El sueño de la Malinche by Marcela del Río (1932). The main objective of this study is to fill in the criticism void about theatre written by women in Mexico (especially their historical theatre). Another very important objective is to show how these historical plays propose the need to change the current political and social structures that have been in place for centuries so that every individual is treated equally regardless of race, sex or social-economical class.

These four women playwrights redeem not only female historical characters but also the values embedded in various social movements such as the Yaqui tribe rebellion at the end of the 19th century, the Mexican Revolution and the expropiation of the lands to the people of Spanish extraction who had stripped them from the indigenous people in the Yucatán Peninsula at the beginning of the 20th century.

Since these playwrights set their own historical characters’ perspective in contrast to the perspective of them that official history has offered, this approach can be analyzed as a dialogical form, of one conscience opposite another one. Therefore, the study employs the tool for analysis provided by Mikhail Bakhtin in The Dialogic Imagination and Estética de la creación verbal. The ideological divisions presented in Del Rio’s play Felipe Carrillo Puerto: Una flor para tu sueño, are analyzed from Lucien Goldmann’s concept of a utopian world. The heroes of the social movements in three of the plays: La paz ficticia, Felipe Ángeles and Felipe Carrillo Puerto: Una flor para tu sueño allows the application of Georg Lukacs’ theory about the novel to be applied to theatre, because each one of these protagonists can be described very well with the term “problematic individual.” The significance of intertextualities present in the play El eterno femenino by Rosario Castellanos is analyzed from the perspective of Gerard Genette in his book Palimpsests.

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