When Cristina became a widow, she married Esteban Christian Meier , who is rejected by her daughter, unaware that in reality they have awakened a deep love that both hide behind their mask of hostility. The worst comes when Esteban begins to get rid of all the men who surround Acacia. Cristina Victoria Ruffo , her mother and his wife, suddenly being widowed, learns that her husband had mortgaged the hacienda in order to cover the expenses of the sowings and livestock, not finding a solution to this, she decides to sell the hacienda and leave to live with her parents together with her daughter. The estate of her husband was rescued by Esteban, a worker of the hacienda, before being sold. Ten years pass, but the hatred and resentment of Acacia towards Esteban have not changed, returning to the hacienda as a beautiful Woman, the first one to see her is Esteban who does not recognize her after a long time. Acacia is defiant and makes it clear that she is the owner of the Benavente farm.
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Acacia is about to get married. But someone is unhappy about the engagement, and has murder on his mind. Acacia lives with her mother Raimunda and her stepfather Esteban. Acacia is engaged to Faustino. Before she met him, however, she was in love with her cousin Norberto. That relationship fell apart when Norberto decided he was no longer interested in her, offering no explanation for his change of heart.
It is late, and they are about to return to their own village. Esteban accompanies his guests for part of their journey.
As the men travel down the deserted country roads, tragedy strikes. They are set upon by a gunman, and Faustino is killed. It is dark, and so no one can identify the murderer. But the finger of suspicion immediately falls on Norberto, presumably jealous that his former sweetheart is about to marry someone else.
Norberto is initially arrested, but is then released because he has a watertight alibi for the night of the murder. Nevertheless, Eusebio and his other sons still suspect him of killing Faustino. Meanwhile, Acacia and her family have retreated to their other house in the rural countryside, eager to escape the gossip in the village. Here, they are visited by Eusebio.
He accuses Raimunda and Esteban of protecting Norberto because he is family. After Eusebio leaves Norberto arrives, summoned by his aunt Raimunda. He is, however, evidently agitated and reluctant to talk. Eventually, Norberto reveals that he thinks that Esteban — with the help of his servant Rubio — killed Faustino.
Norberto tells Raimunda how Esteban manipulated and threatened him into ending his relationship with Acacia. When Faustino was murdered, Norberto immediately suspected Esteban. Raimunda cannot understand why her loving husband would not want his stepdaughter to marry. But it soon becomes clear. She has always resisted his advances, and never told Raimunda for fear of not being believed. Norberto is badly wounded, but survives. Meanwhile, realising Raimunda now knows all about his crime and his secret love for Acacia, Esteban flees for the hills.
Eventually, worn out and miserable, he returns. His devoted servant Rubio promises to take the blame for everything, but Esteban decides that he must take responsibility for the murder. He confronts an enraged Raimunda and confesses his shameful desire for Acacia.
Esteban is so full of self-loathing and contrition that Raimunda forgives him, and decides that they will conceal his crime and send Acacia away. Acacia, however, refuses to be forced out of her own home. She says that she will go to the police and tell them everything. But before he leaves the house for good, he begs Acacia to call him father, just once. She cannot do so. Instead, she calls him by his first name. Passionately, she admits that she has always loved him — that her hatred was simply a jealous reaction to his relationship with her mother.
Esteban is overjoyed. He forgets all about confessing, and instead promises Acacia that they will run away together. Horrified, Raimunda tries to stop them from leaving. But Esteban is no longer the contrite and loving husband he once was. Determined to flee with Acacia, he kills Raimunda. Suddenly, the sight of her mother lying dead on the floor shocks Acacia out of wanting to be with Esteban. For the first time in many years, Acacia tells her dead mother that she loves her, and she promises that Esteban will be brought to justice for all his crimes.
Its psychological impact has impressed a range of critics, many of whom enjoyed the complexity of the plot and characterisation. The play has been adapted for film and television many times, most recently in Benavente, Jacinto. La malquerida , ed. Paul T. La malquerida: drama en tres actos y en prosa. New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts. De Onis, Federico. Entry written by Gwynneth Dowling.
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La Malquerida: Drama en Tres Actos y en Prosa
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La Malquerida : Drama En Tres Actos y En Prosa (Classic Reprint)