During the period of Spanish conquest in the1500s, Meso-American civilizations were ignorant to the Europeans existing on the other side of the world. Due to their ignorance, the Meso-American civilizations created In regards to the tale of Quetzalcoatl and Mel Gibson’s Film “Apocalypto, the two stories taken place during the 1500s are bounded together through various mythic elements such as a clash of cultures and a connection to the sea.In the tale of Quetzalcoatl, Quetzalcoatl’s is greeted unpleasantly by the presence of Tezcatlipoca, the antagonist.
During the story, Quetzalcoatl promoted the skill of crafts and the sacrifice of breads, flowers, and perfumes in opposition to the skill of war crafts and the sacrifice of tearing the hearts out of men and women. However, Tezcatlipoca upheld those practices of hostility that Quetzalcoatl disapproved of. Through this, there is a clash of cultures. During the ball court segment of the story, Tezcatlipoca transformed himself into a jaguar whereas Quetzalcoatl had fled.
The cultures of Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca are in total opposition. Similarly in the film, Apocalypto, the cultures of Jaguar Paw and Zero Wolf were in heavy confliction. The tribe of Jaguar Paw and his father Flint Sky were of a peaceful people, while the culture of Zero Wolf believed in the conquering of less civilized tribes. The Aztecs also participated in the practice of human sacrifice.In addition, the two stories are connected to each other through the correlation of the sea. During both of the stories, Quetzalcoatl and Jaguar Paw each visited the sea during the end of their journeys.
For Quetzalcoatl’s connection with the sea, it represented the next phase of life. As for Jaguar Paw, the connection to the sea brought the story back to the beginning but a deconstructive moment occurred when the Europeans arrived on the shores of the beach. Instead of a new beginning like Jaguar Paw hoped for, it was instead the beginning of their end.Furthermore, Jaguar Paw and Zero Wolf depict the typical protagonist and antagonist story line. In Quetzalcoatl’s tale, Quetzalcoatl was the avatar of good and Tezcatlipoca was the avatar of bad. The same reference goes for Jaguar Paw being good and Zero Wolf being bad. In both stories there were constant rivalries between the two characters. In addition, to their rivalry was also a sense of commitment in both stories. Jaguar Paw was committed to his promise of coming back to his son and pregnant wife and Quetzalcoatl was committed to sticking to the ideals of non-violence. Moreover, two mythologens that occurred in the story were the promise to come back and the act of a quest. In the film, Jaguar Paw made a promise to his wife that he would come back which was followed by a divine reunion at the end of the movie. Jaguar Paw was constantly on a quest to survive for the sake of his tribe and forest during the film. Quetzalcoatl was also on a pursuit to come back to his people. During difficult times, people hope for a God to come back as their savior. Queztalcoatl came back through his resurrection.Will Durant’s observation, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within,” refers to the Aztec culture as depicted in the film as disproportionate in wealth as well as the hierarchy of their class system. I believe the observation also denotes the massive pollution and the images of natural resources being used up during the film. Though the film was set in the 1500s, the problems occurring in the Apocalypto are close parallels with what is happening in today’s world with third world countries and the abuse brought on by first world countries such as the United States.