Type: History
Pages: 10 | Words: 2994
Reading Time: 13 Minutes

The United States of America is one of the richest countries under the blue sky in terms of national heroes. Spiderman, batman, Fantastic Four and Captain America – all they originated from the United States of America. But these “tough-roughs” are the children of the modern era. However, it is reasonable to assume that the heroes of the past must never be forgotten by the younger generation.                                                              

Indeed, the heroes of the past were unique. In contrast to their contemporary colleagues, they referred to a very scanty arsenal of the means. To be more exact, the outstanding and renowned heroes of the past had really nothing to rely on except their own physical capabilities and mental inventiveness and ingenuity.  Moreover, it has become particularly peculiar that while modern heroes in their majority fight against the outer enemy of the entire humankind (the earth is routinely saved from the natural cataclysms and extraterrestrial invasions of the bloodthirsty aliens and other monsters), their past colleague used to keep their struggle against the injustice and social inequality perpetrated by the rulers of the society.                                 

One of the most outstanding heroes of the American eventful past is Zorro or Don Diego de La Vega.  The aim of his existence and his heroic exploits was the protection of the poor people and all those who needed  his protection, defense and patronage.  The Spanish word Zorro is translated as “fox” into English language.  The author of the story, the illustrious Johnston McCauley utilized this very name to convey a very important message to the target audience of the story: the main protagonist of the story is ready to employ all skills and traits which are peculiar to the fox to achieve his goals: the cunningness, stealth and agility to avoid being chased by the authorities of the government and to defeat all his enemies, both avowed and latent ones.    


Overall, the story of Zorro has contributed significantly to the development and evolution of the cultural heritage of the United States of America. Zorro was not merely a symbol for those who fought against the injustice and  social inequality, but the union and the implementation of all those, who shared similar vision. When the author resolved to create the image of Zorro, he assembled the Texas, Californian and all American folklore to create this man. In other words, the birth of Zorro was not the fruit of the authors imagination, but the assemblage of the hopes and wishes of the ordinary people, who really were in need of the hero who could have protected them and their well-being. Considering the fact that this hero didn’t exist in reality, he was artificially created by McCulley.                       

However,  still it remains unclear whence Zorro originated from. Various scholars and adherents of his story propose different answers to this question. Although the explanation are various in their natures, the proper answer can be given only after a careful examination of the stories and novels about Zorro and the opinion of the critics has been conducted, it has become evident that it is impossible to ascertain it, until a thorough study of all works published about Zorro is conducted.                                                                                 

Overall, the aim of this paper is to outline the importance of Zorro to the development of the cultural institutions of the United States of America, to evaluate different visions on his origin and to conclude on the most veritable one.  Besides, the paper accentuates the contribution Zorro made to the literature community of the Americas and the way it affects the literature endeavors of the contemporary writers.

Historical Background of Zorro

Historically, the image of Zorro shall be reviewed as a skilled and very apt encapsulation of the heroes and personalities of the past who shared the same traits as Zorro did. First and foremost, his deeds and exploits can be attributed to the story of Joaquin Murrieta, the American protectors of the poor and those marginalized by the society.  Another parallel which is frequently drawn between Zorro and his counterparts is the parallel with the outstanding English robber and protector of the commoners Robin Hood. In fact, although their activity is separated by centuries, the deeds and the character of their demeanor are similar. Both see their vacation in protecting the poor and defending those who are  marginalized by the society. The both do have similar roots of becoming outlaws ( Robin Hood in his turn is formally declared an outlawed person, in contrast to his American colleague, who is out of the law only when he wears his mask and when he questions the authorities of the state while committing his heroic exploits )                            

Overall, it can be recapitulated that the commencement of the Zorro history is the encapsulation and synthesis of the national folklore of the people inhabiting the Californias and the Texas, their need for the real hero and the international analogues of this personality like Robin Hood.

The Story of Zorro

The birth of Zorro was delivered by the author in 1919 in the story “the Curse of Capistrano”. The story was divided into five separate independent parts and published in the literature periodical “All Story Weekly”. Following the plot of the story it becomes evident that Zorro is the pseudonym taken by Don Diego de la Vega.  Apart from calling himself Zorro, he is at the same time denominated as the curse of Capistrano. The objectives which he pursued initially remain unclear, and they shall be analyzed closely and attentively. In particular, it shall be accentuated why he decided to act incognito and to hide his own identity.

The Personality of Zorro

With the commercial success of the published story and the adapted movie it became gradually evident for the makers of the movie and for the author of the story; the image of Zorro shall be exploited further. However, at the same time it was evident that in order to make the story attractive and catching for the target audience of the book and the movie, it is necessary to broad the timeframes of the story.  After a careful speculation about the possible scenarios of the plot development, it was ultimately decided to make the generations of Zorro’s. In other words, initially when the first story about Zorro was published, it was speculated that the true identity and the devotion to the protection of the ordinary people, is nothing but a personal mystery of Don Diego de la Vega.  But when all the circumstances have been exploited, the authors eventually realized  that if his life is exploited more, the script of the story may seem to be over-saturated for the readers and spectaculars’ communities, therefore it was resolved that being a Zorro shall become nothing less but a family tradition of the La Vegas family. Hereby, the ending of the life of Zorro finishes with his training a new  to-be Zorro. Moreover, this literature technique enabled the author to  prolong the history of the main protagonist to the unlimited number of the stories. In other words Zorro can exist as long, as the there is a need to listen and to watch the stories of Zorro, the old Zorros will continue to perish heroically, while their younger colleagues will be apt enough to master all physical and mental skills to act as a new hero and to save those who are in need.

The Arsenal Utilized by Zorro to Defeat His Enemies

First and foremost, it is essential to accentuate the fact that Zorro is wonderfully prepared physically to accomplish his goals. Indeed, he has unique agility, dexterity and deftness.  To be more exact, Zorro has truly a unique gift of maneuvering, turning almost any obstacle he encounters on his way against the enemies which always chase him. To be more exact, Zorro is an excellent swimmer capable of covering big rivers and lakes, submerging and diving under the water for a long time and therefore making himself invisible for his opponents.  He can easily swim faster than the wild, savage animals inhabiting the underwater and chasing him as a potential and desired pray. In one particular instance he managed to escape the jaws of an alligators, trying to eat this noble man.

Another trump in the arsenal of Zorro, or to be more exact in the arsenal of Zorros, because these virtues are inherent to all of them, is their unique abilities as the horsemen and riders.   Zorros of all generations were fully capable of mastering the most fractious ladinos, which after being taken under the bridle of Zorro immediately becomes as submissive and controllable as a dog. However, although Zorros routinely use different means of communications, they are generally loyal to one particular, trained and hardy horses. Several episodes of the movies about Zorros and the respective books explained that Zorro preferred to ride a horse named Toronado. However, in the subsequent adaptations of Zorro Toronado ( or Tempest in English) the black Toronado was eventually substituted by the white Phantom. Moreover, Zorro is a skilled and accomplished marksman and swordsman, capable of  effective fencing and shooting at almost any distance and of any weapon. The numerous movie adaptations of Zorro clearly depicted that he is able to get over almost any opponent if he needs to utilize his rapier or his sword. Primarily, Zorro encounters problems only when he faces serious opponents or the big bosses who sometimes occur to be more skilled and accomplished as the main protagonist himself is.

One of the most powerful arms in the arsenal of Zorro is his bullwhip, which he effectively employs to either beat his enemies, or to disarm them.  In the situations when the entire equipment of Zorro is merely his whip and his sword, the majority of his ordinary opponents are defeated with the application of this scanty arsenal, while they in their turn are quite often armed with considerably more numerous opponents.                                         

Overall, it can be recapitulated that the arsenal utilized by Zorro is abundant enough for him to act actively and effectively against the numerous and what is particularly important against better armed opponents.

The Motives of Acting Incognito

When Don Diego de la Vega resolved to hide his own face and therefore his own personality under the mask, it is natural to assume that this decision was dictated by the number of internal and external factors. To be more exact, in psychological parlance his acts were driven by the set of objective and subjective reasons. Outwardly, for the ordinary community it is evident that all his deeds and endeavors are driven by his irresistible desire to help the poor and the disadvantaged people in order to restore the divine justice, overall equality for all human beings irrespective of their financial status and other noble motives. In fact, the desire to help the poor and the infringed commoners of California against the continuous and repetitive,  and most importantly legally baseless persecutions and civil limitations together with discrimination imposed by the cruel and ruthless governor of California Don Rafael Montero ( depicted in the first film adapted on the first book about Zorro “ the Mask of Zorro”. ) At the beginning of both the book and the movie, it is evident that initially Zorro didn’t have any personal motives or reasons to fight against the troops of the governor of Las Californias, the territory in where the main events of the story were developing.   

However, it is clear that more importantly Zorro, or to be more exact Zorros were driven by the personal motives.  To be more exact, the irresistible desire to act as the public savior and the benefactor for the entire community of those who are deprived and in need was generated by the significant number of the personal egoistical and selfish factors. First and foremost, it is the desire to become famous and well recognized. Some critics to this statement may outwardly reasonably assert that this desire is completely unveiled under the mask of Zorro, as Don Diego and other members of his families were not eager to disclose their true identity and therefore their greed for fame can’t be proven.  However, their hereditary greed for the fame and overall recognition was implemented in the image of Zorro. In other words, when the mask of Zorro is worn, the genuine identity of the bearer is  forgotten temporarily and all his deeds and exploits are automatically attributed to Zorro while Don Diego de La Vega or other La Vega rests in oblivion. Hereby, two goals are automatically achieved simultaneously – whereas the identity of the hero is closed from the general public, hereby making the negative aspects of the public life impossible, while the hero, or to be more exact his image is well known and well recognized at the same time. Zorro knows for sure, that when he resolves to catch the mask, he will be immediately recognized as the savior and the helper and ultimately he will be acclaimed and welcomed everywhere by the commoners.

The Life Chronology of Zorro

The history of the family tradition being Zorro starts in 1781 when Don Alejandro de la Vega arrives to the newly founded city of Riena in California , in where the resolve to settle down.  The next year, their son, the first subsequent Zorro is born and in order to provide a thorough all-round development for him he is sent to Spain by his parents to obtain an education.  His mother, Chiquita died several years after Diego was born.  The next remarkable year of the chronology is the year 1806, when Diego returns from Spain , to realize that his father who was elected to act as an alcalde was overthrown by  the villain and completely suborned person Luis Quintero   who in collaboration with the brutal commander of the garrison, the notorious Juan Ramon utilized the forced labor of the local commoners, peasants and the Indians. Having made a personal resolution, Diego veils his face with the mask of Zorro and starts his struggle against the brutalities of the Quintero and his associates.

The story ends with the marriage of Zorro on his beloved one, but the undefeated Ramon decided to employ the services of the pirates, who agreed to help him to vanquish Zorro and therefore the continuation of the story starts.                                           

Year 1807 is remarkable by the unsuccessful attempt  of Zorro’s maternal uncle to claim the due heritage, when all his claims have been repelled by Zorro after he realized that that the intentions of his uncle were dishonest and he was preoccupied only by the motives of his personal enrichment.                                                                                              

In 1810 dies the beloved wife of Zorro and Don Diego in order to console his feelings resolves to assist the fighters for the independence of California against the Mexican rule, as the countries become seized with the  wave of brutal revolutions.  In 1811 Zorro marries again, and his new wife gave birth to his son, Cezar de la Vega.  The following years Diego was actively engaged in conducting operation against the associates of Capitan Monastario. In 1824 Diego is conspiring to prevent the plot aimed at overthrowing the president of Mexico. In order to succeed in the fulfillment of this task, Zorro recruits a legion of his followers, wearing the same masks and acting similarly as he does.                                

The next year Diego moves to Los Angeles to launch a struggle against the newly appointed commandante Rafael  Montero. In 1830 Diego starts to educate his son to become the helper of Zorro, having the intents to make him a fully capacitated Zorro soon.

Year 1832 is marked with the change of Zorros, when Zorro –junior, Don Cezar leaves for Spain to accomplish a mission there. In several episodes of his activity he is helped by Don Diego, who does not seem to lose the grasp completely.  In 1835 the new wife of Don Diego is brutally killed by the troops loyal to his opponent, while himself he is imprisoned. His son, Cezar being totally convinced that he died marries and decides to stay in Spain.  Several years after, Diego contrived to escape from the prison and trains the person who bears the name Alejandro Murrieta to become the next Zorro.    Year 1853 is remarkable for the history of Zorro, because the first Zorro while combating Montero is mortally wounded. In accordance with his latest will Alejandro Murrieta becomes Alejandro de La Vega and inherits the assets, including the hacienda and other estates of Don Diego.  In 1865, the cousin of Cezar, Jeff Stewart is the new hero, who wears the mask of Zorro to fight against the corruption, injustice and social inequality.  The next  Zorro starts his heroic career in 1875 and he, Joaquin Mason is the grandson of Don Diego, the first and the most illustrious of all Zorros.                                                                                                                               

The latest Zorro who followed the family traditions is James Vega, who was born in 1910. He is the great-grandson of the first Zorro and the grandson of Don Cesar.  Initially the latest Zorro lived in New York, but when the injustice was reported to have been perpetrated by the gang of the villains on the territories of his ancestral hacienda, he resolves to follow the footsteps of his dads and grandfathers and having assumed the disguise of Zorro he returns home to seek justice and to administer equality.


Having made a close analysis of the currently available sources relating to the history of Zorro, several important inferences can be made. First and foremost, the author fully realized that the people were in a crying need of a hero capable of helping them. Secondly, the commercial success of the story mandated the exploration of the story by creating the family of Zorros, who inherit not only the luxurious estate in California, but the moral obligation to protect the poor and the disadvantaged as well. 

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