|Plaza de San Marcos|
Photo by Lumdog
The matador de toros, with his ornate, gold embroidered suit enters the ring with his two lesser toreros (subaltemos). The ritual would now begin. Each torero attempts to attract the bull with his brightly colored cape of pink and gold. The bull randomly charges, seemingly intent on mauling whoever enters his vision. The subaltemos take no shame in running from the bull, which allows the lead torero to assess his foe.
The picadors enter on horseback with their lances. The bull immediately charges the blindfolded horses and a picador gives one or two strikes into the back of the neck. The bull is weakened, but not intimidated.
The torero raises his arms, banderillas in hand, like a conductor holding his baton. He taunts the bull. The bull charges and the violent dance begins. Two banderillas are plunged into the bull. Enraged, foam spews from the bull’s mouth; his desire to gore the torero is sharpened. The bull charges and the torero is grazed, but not injured. The bull charges again and again and the dance continues.
Finally, the torero enters the ring alone, now carrying his red muleta (cape) and a sword and the final steps of the dance take place. As the end comes near, the torero and bull lock eyes in final ecstasy, each believing he will vanquish the other._______
I wrote this for the Week 74 Trifecta Writing Challenge where we are to write a 33-333 word composition using the word “ecstasy” in the context of a trance.
This was a challenging piece for me to write. I don’t condone cruelty to animals in sport or otherwise, and I was hesitant to see a bullfight. Yet, I was interested in going. Perhaps, I was inspired by my favorite author, Ernest Hemingway, who wanted to be a bullfighter and who wrote so eloquently about bullfighting and by the fact that bullfighting is very much a part of my fiancée’s cultural heritage.
Indeed, my fiancée and her brother had a good laugh at my expense when I referred to the torero as the “matador”, as it is a word only used by gringos in that context. Technically, the matador is the senior of the three toreros, but this word is only used in Spanish when one is saying: “matador de toros”, to distinguish the senior torero from the lesser ones.
Finally, I would like to note that I saw this bullfight in Mexico, but through my research, I learned that the various stages of a bullfight, the roles of the participants and the terminology vary from country to country, so this may not entirely square with your own experiences.
Your comments are appreciated.