Malinche and Hernan Cortes Throughout the Spanish Conquest

The moment Malinche was acquired by Hernan Cortes as a slave, neither of them could imagine the importance she would serve throughout the Spanish conquest. In theory, Malinche was the perfect counterpart to Hernan Cortes in his brutal conquest. She grew up without a father, and a mother who only valued her more for as a trade piece than a daughter. Malinche was desperate for someone who could guide her and teach the ways of life, no matter how evil that someone was.

When Cortes became her master, it was inevitable she would become the most important piece of the puzzle in the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Malinche was a victim of circumstances, not a betrayer of her own people. “La Malinche did not choose to join Cortes. She was offered to him as a slave by the Cacique of Tabasco, along with 19 other young women. She had no voice in the matter”(http://www. mexconnect. com/articles/224-la-malinche-harlot-or-heroine). When Malinche was sent to Hernan Cortes as a slave, it was nothing new for her.

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This was the third time she would be involved in a slave trade. Ever since her mother sold her, she had been forced to serve powerful people day and night. Malinche did not choose to help Cortes conquer her native land; she was a slave and had no other choice. “At this point, Marina only knew how to obey the master, she knew nothing about free will and own criterion” (http://www. womeninworldhistory. com/imow-Malitzin. pdf). Malinche was a young, vulnerable woman who had been serving as a slave for most of her short life.

She never had experienced freedom, and the only thing she knew was how to take orders from her master. As a slave, the values of loyalty, cooperation, and fear were imbedded in her at a young age, which is exactly why Hernan Cortes was able to use her. “But that past now seemed very far away. She, the slave who had listened to orders in silence, who couldn’t look directly into the eyes of men, now had a voice, and the men, staring into her eyes, would wait attentively to hear what her mouth uttered.

She, who had so often been given away, who so many times had been gotten rid of, now was needed, valued, as much as if not more than a cacao” (Esquivel, 66). At the time of this quote, Malinche is beginning to understand the importance of ‘The Tongue’. She is realizing that she controls the outcome, and is the most important piece of the conversation. She had never in her life been so powerful, so valuable. This is another example of where it is crucial to understand Malinche’s past to understand her intentions.

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Malinche and Hernan Cortes Throughout the Spanish Conquest. (2016, Dec 10). Retrieved from