Aztec
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"Aztec" Characters Analysis

By Gary Jennings

historical fiction | 754 pages | Published in NaN

Aztec is the extraordinary story of the last and greatest native civilization of North America. Told in the words of one of the most robust and memorable characters in modern fiction, Mixtli-Dark Cloud, Aztec reveals the very depths of Aztec civilization from the peak and feather-banner splendor of the Aztec Capital of Tenochtitlan to the arrival of Hernán Cortes and his conquistadores, and their destruction of the Aztec empire. The story of Mixtli is the story of the Aztecs themselves---a compelling, epic tale of heroic dignity and a colossal civilization's rise and fall.

ISBN_13:9780765317506

Estimated read time: 8 min read

Table of Contents

  1. List of Characters

List of Characters

Character NameRole
MixtliProtagonist
TzitzilinMixtli's sister
MalinaliLove interest
TlacaelelMentor
MoctezumaEmperor
CortesConquistador

Role Identification

Mixtli

Mixtli is the protagonist of the novel "Aztec" by Gary Jennings. He serves as the primary narrator and offers a firsthand account of the events taking place during the Aztec civilization.

Tzitzilin

Tzitzilin is Mixtli's sister and an important supporting character in the story. She provides emotional support and plays a crucial role in Mixtli's life.

Malinali

Malinali is Mixtli's love interest and a captivating character who adds depth to the narrative. Her presence contributes to Mixtli's character development and the exploration of love and relationships within the Aztec society.

Tlacaelel

Tlacaelel is Mixtli's mentor, guiding him through various challenges and teaching him important life lessons. He represents wisdom and serves as a moral compass for Mixtli.

Moctezuma

Moctezuma is the powerful emperor of the Aztec civilization. His character showcases the complexities of leadership and the pressures faced by rulers during the time of Spanish conquest.

Cortes

Cortes is a conquistador who leads the Spanish invasion of the Aztec empire. His character represents the clash between the Aztec and Spanish cultures, providing a contrasting perspective to the indigenous characters.

Character Descriptions

Mixtli

Mixtli is a young Aztec man with an insatiable curiosity about the world. He possesses a strong sense of loyalty and determination. With his dark complexion and curly hair, Mixtli is physically representative of the Aztec people. He is known for his intelligence and ability to adapt to different situations.

Tzitzilin

Tzitzilin is Mixtli's sister, described as having a radiant smile and sparkling eyes. She has a kind and nurturing nature, always looking out for Mixtli's well-being. Tzitzilin is known for her beauty and has a strong connection to her Aztec roots.

Malinali

Malinali is a strikingly beautiful woman with long, flowing black hair. She captivates Mixtli with her strength and intelligence. Malinali possesses a mysterious aura and a deep understanding of the Aztec culture, which fascinates Mixtli.

Tlacaelel

Tlacaelel is an older man with a wise and weathered appearance. He carries himself with grace and authority, commanding respect from those around him. Tlacaelel's presence exudes wisdom and his character is shaped by his experiences and knowledge.

Moctezuma

Moctezuma is a tall and imposing figure, with a regal and commanding presence. He is often seen wearing elaborate feathered headdresses and intricate jewelry, symbolizing his status as the Aztec emperor. Moctezuma's physical appearance reflects his power and authority.

Cortes

Cortes is portrayed as a tall and imposing figure, with fair skin and light hair that contrasts with the Aztec population. He wears armor and carries a sword, symbolizing the Spanish conquistadors' military might. Cortes' physical description highlights the differences between the Spanish and Aztec cultures.

Character Traits

Mixtli

  • Inquisitive
  • Loyal
  • Resourceful
  • Intelligent
  • Adaptable

Tzitzilin

  • Nurturing
  • Supportive
  • Loving
  • Beautiful
  • Kind-hearted

Malinali

  • Strong-willed
  • Intelligent
  • Mysterious
  • Captivating
  • Culturally knowledgeable

Tlacaelel

  • Wise
  • Authoritative
  • Knowledgeable
  • Respected
  • Mentor-like

Moctezuma

  • Powerful
  • Regal
  • Authoritative
  • Complex
  • Burdened by responsibility

Cortes

  • Ambitious
  • Ruthless
  • Determined
  • Calculating
  • Culturally contrasting

Character Background

Mixtli

Mixtli is born into a humble family within the Aztec society. He grows up in Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire. Mixtli's family is part of the lower social strata, which provides him with a unique perspective and understanding of the Aztec civilization. As he embarks on various adventures and encounters different cultures, Mixtli's background influences his choices and actions.

Tzitzilin

Tzitzilin is Mixtli's younger sister, and they share a close bond. She grows up alongside Mixtli in Tenochtitlan, experiencing the same cultural influences and societal pressures. Tzitzilin's background mirrors Mixtli's, allowing her to offer insights and support based on their shared experiences.

Malinali

Malinali comes from a noble Aztec background but is captured and sold into slavery at a young age. Despite her difficult past, Malinali manages to retain her knowledge and love for her culture. Her background as a noblewoman and a slave shapes her character and influences her interactions with Mixtli.

Tlacaelel

Tlacaelel is an esteemed member of Aztec society, known for his loyalty to the empire. His background includes a deep understanding of Aztec history, traditions, and politics. Tlacaelel's extensive knowledge and experience provide him with the wisdom necessary to guide Mixtli through the challenges they face.

Moctezuma

Moctezuma's background is one of privilege and power. As the emperor of the Aztec empire, he is born into a position of authority. However, Moctezuma's background also comes with immense responsibility and the burden of leading his people during a time of great change and uncertainty.

Cortes

Cortes hails from Spain and represents the Spanish conquistadors. His background is one of privilege and military training. Cortes is driven by a desire for wealth, power, and glory, which influences his actions as he encounters the Aztec civilization.

Character Arcs

Mixtli

Mixtli undergoes a significant character arc throughout the novel. Initially, he is driven by curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. As he encounters various cultures and experiences, Mixtli grapples with his identity and the clash between his Aztec roots and the influence of the Spanish conquistadors. His arc involves self-discovery, personal growth, and a deeper understanding of the world around him.

Tzitzilin

Tzitzilin's character arc revolves around her growth as an individual and her role in supporting Mixtli. Initially, she serves as a source of comfort and love for Mixtli. However, as the story progresses, Tzitzilin becomes more independent and assertive, contributing to the overall narrative and Mixtli's development.

Malinali

Malinali's character arc explores her journey from being a captive to a strong and independent woman. Her experiences shape her character, and she becomes an influential figure in Mixtli's life. Malinali's arc also delves into her struggles with identity and the complexities of love in a society undergoing drastic changes.

Tlacaelel

Tlacaelel's character arc primarily involves guiding Mixtli and imparting his wisdom. While his role is primarily supportive, Tlacaelel's experiences and teachings contribute to Mixtli's growth and understanding of the world. His arc showcases the impact of mentoring and the importance of passing down knowledge.

Moctezuma

Moctezuma's character arc is one of tragedy and downfall. Initially portrayed as a powerful and respected ruler, Moctezuma's arc follows his decline in the face of Spanish conquest. His character represents the challenges faced by leaders and the consequences of difficult decisions.

Cortes

Cortes' character arc revolves around his pursuit of power and conquest. His actions lead to the downfall of the Aztec empire, but his arc also explores the moral implications of his choices and the impact of his encounter with the Aztec civilization.

Relationships

Mixtli and Tzitzilin

Mixtli and Tzitzilin share a deep bond as siblings. They provide emotional support for each other, and their relationship is characterized by love and loyalty. Tzitzilin serves as a guiding force in Mixtli's life, offering comfort and encouragement during his journey.

Mixtli and Malinali

Mixtli and Malinali's relationship begins with curiosity and attraction. As they spend more time together, their connection deepens, and they become confidants. Their relationship showcases the complexities of love and the challenges faced by individuals from different backgrounds.

Mixtli and Tlacaelel

Mixtli and Tlacaelel's relationship is one of mentorship and guidance. Tlacaelel imparts his wisdom to Mixtli, shaping his understanding of the world and the complexities of Aztec society. Their relationship is built on respect and trust.

Mixtli and Moctezuma

Mixtli and Moctezuma's relationship is one of loyalty and duty. Mixtli serves as Moctezuma's trusted advisor, providing insights and support during the Spanish conquest. Their relationship showcases the complexities of leadership and the challenges faced by both ruler and advisor.

Mixtli and Cortes

Mixtli and Cortes' relationship represents the clash between the Aztec and Spanish cultures. They are adversaries, with Cortes leading the invasion of the Aztec empire. Their relationship is characterized by tension, as Mixtli grapples with his loyalty to his people and his fascination with the Spanish conquerors.

In conclusion, "Aztec" by Gary Jennings presents a rich tapestry of characters, each with their unique roles, backgrounds, and character arcs. Through their relationships and interactions, the novel explores themes of identity, loyalty, love, and the clash of cultures. The characters' traits and development contribute to the depth and complexity of the story, creating a captivating narrative that immerses the reader in the world of the Aztec civilization.