The Characters: Diego de le Vega
"When the pupil is ready, the master will appear."
At first glance, this blue-eyed don of California seems harmless. Living happily at his hacienda with his lovely wife Esperanza and beautiful baby daughter Elena, Diego is the very ideal of Spanish aristocracy. Little does Don Raphael, the Governor, know, however, that Digeo is also his worst enemy. Days in the Spanish Court sweep into nights under the black mask of the outlaw Zorro, a servant of the people, a fighter for justice and morality in a corrupted government.
Unfortunately Diego, nearing retirement, reaches the end of his rope. Wounded in a skirmish with Raphael's guards during the freeing of several innocent peasants, he is confronted at his own hacienda and placed under arrest. In the fray, fighting for is very life, Esperanza is killed by a bullet intended for Diego, and he is knocked unconscious by a furious Raphael. When he awakens, to find his hacienda in flames, he discovers that Raphael, on his way to Spain, is taking Elena with him.
The next twenty years are spent in prison, biding his time and awaiting the day when he can claim his revenge. Almost having given up all hope of ever seen Raphael's face again, Diego's strength flows back with the governor's return to California. Escaping the stench and hindrance of the prison, he vows to take his revenge. But only one thing stands in his way... the beautiful Elena, who knows no other father save his mortal enemy. Can Diego break her heart forever, or find a way to find reconciliation with the man who has so wronged him? What of the young Spanish bandito who has become as an apprentice? Can he train yet another man to take over the mask?
Only time will tell...
Diego can be compellingly compassionate, but is also capable of fits of temper and his desire for revenge burns darkly in a smothered soul. He is old and tiring, and his one desire is to tell his daughter who she truly is if not to avenge his wife's death at the hands of Raphael. Along the way he is sidetracked by thoughts of his own revenge, but comes around to nobility for the final climax.
The scene in which he dialogues in the stables with his daughter. The look of longing and remembrance in his eyes is compelling and powerful; the soft whispered "Elena" tells far more than a thousand words could. A scene worthy of an Oscar.
"Zorro was a servant of the people, not a seeker of fame like you!"
"You think stealing a horse makes you worthy of wearing that mask?"
"I can teach you how to think, how to move, how to take your revenge with honor and live to celebrate it."
"Tell her, Raphael. Tell her... who her real father is."