Death Comes for the Archbishop

Why did Cather include the story of Friar Baltazar?


1. Why did Cather include the story of Friar Baltazar? (Section 4 in book 3)

2. What symbolism, if any, does his story possess?

3. Exactly what was his great failure?

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The story of Friar Baltazar Montoya adds a bit of spice to Cather's writing and serves two purposes. First, it acts to repeat a motif in the we see in the Prologue. In that scene we see a group of priests dining together in a garden; they are vain, indulgent, gluttoness men, who are more concerned with their bellies than spreading the word of God.

In Book 3/ Chapter 4 we see the same story as Montoya pushes the Indians to the limit by imposing forced servitude upon them. Like the prologue, his story involves a dinner, but it also involves abuse toward a young, Indian servant who has been forced to served the dinner his people have toiled for. Montoya kills the boys for spilling sauce....... and the Indians show they're not going to take anymore of this type of abuse by throwing Montoya off the cliff.