Arauco domado, epic poem

The first writer recognized as Chilean, Pedro de Oña, published in the Renaissance the epic poem Arauco Domado in the Viceroyalty of Peru (Lima, Antonio Ricardo, 1596). This text is linked to the literary cycle that narrates the exploits of the American peoples, in which reality is confused with fiction and its doses of legend. The cycle of poems on historical themes of Amerindian matter had been inaugurated with the publication of La Araucana by the Spaniard Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga.

Oña’s work is organized into an epilogue and nineteen songs with which the poet narrates the conflict between the Araucanian people and the Spanish. The writing was conceived as a commission, since the viceroy Don García Hurtado de Mendoza was not satisfied with the treatment that Alonso de Ercilla had given him in his famous poem. In short, the viceroy of Peru sought to enhance the reputation of his figure: «el valeroso electo don Hurtado: / pues ya que todo estuvo aparejado / y el tardo y perezoso tiempo vino, / salió de la ciudad el nuevo Aquiles / al son de claras trompas y añafiles.» (Book I).

It is worth highlighting the treatment of the indigenous in the text, since the inhabitant who knows Spanish on his landing in the New World is characterized by the recklessness and ferocity that causes the Spanish to resign themselves in order to achieve their goals.

The poem is composed in real octaves whose rhyme is: ABBAABCC. Likewise, the interest acquired by love affairs such as Caupolicán and Fresia (Book V) stands out. Finally, the style of the verses found during the poem is characterized by the abundant use of mythological allusions; the insightful and complicated association of some expressions; and the convoluted and baroque syntax.

With such baggage, this text, which since its time had had the attention of well-known and leading writers such as Lope de Vega, remains in the hands of readers and scholars interested in the subject. The combination of the most traditional styles with the modernity of the time makes Pedro de Oña’s work arouse interest after more than four hundred years since the publication of the editio princeps.


Rocío Alonso Medel[1]

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Centro de Investigación de la Universidad del Pacífico / Proyecto de Estudios Indianos

[1] This publication was made during the research stay at the Universidad del Pacífico (Lima, Peru), carried out between the months of August and December 2017. The stay was made possible thanks to the award of the predoctoral scholarship: Iberoamérica. Santander Research UCM (AY 21/17).


Digital Resources

Late Editions

Siglo XVII

Siglo XIX

Siglo XX

Arauco Domado in the theatrical genre

Vega Carpio, Lope Félix de, Arauco Domado

Studies of and about the work of Pedro de Oña

Síntesis detallada de Arauco Domado

Biografía de Pedro de Oña

Marrero Fente, Raúl, «Poesía y astrología en el Arauco Domado (1596) de Pedro de Oña», Anales de Literatura Chilena, XVII, 26 (2016), pp. 117-131.

Castro Jiménez, María Dolores y Almudena Zapata Ferrer, «Tópicos épicos de cuño virgiliano en el Arauco Domado de Pedro de Oña», en Trinidad Arcos Pereira, Jorge Fernández López y Francisca Moya del Baño (eds.), Pectora mulcet: estudios de retórica y oratoria latinas, Logroño, Instituto de estudios riojanos, 2009, vol. 1, pp. 277-290.