Death and the Maiden. By Ariel Dorfman .. GERARDO: I hate to disagree, Roberto, but in my opinion, the death penalty has never solved any of the—. Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden is a moral thriller about a woman, Paulina, who believes that a stranger who comes to her home is the doctor who, under. Death and the Maiden study guide contains a biography of Ariel Dorfman, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full.

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In the years between the coup and the resumption of democratic elections inthe military fought a vicious and covert war against the people of Argentina, totally restructuring society to eradicate any political consciousness. An opera based on the play has been composed by Jonas Forssell with the libretto by Ariel Dorfman. Paulina and Miranda lock eyes for a moment, then she looks ahead into the mirror as the music plays.

The time is the present and the place, a country that is probably Chile but could be any country that has given itself a democratic government just after a long period of dictatorship. I can’t help but ask if 20 years from now I will be writing this phrase all over again: Death and the Maiden is valued as a dramatic work that examines the psychological repercussions of human rights abuses. Under a constitution written during his regime, Pinochet himself remained army commander until stepping down in March, Death and the Maiden, he feels, is nothing more than a contrived mystery.

Since her ordeal, Paulina has also stifled a great deal of anger, which surfaces with the opportunity to exact revenge on the man she believes was her primary tormentor. In the end, however, she stops short of administering the ultimate punishment of death. This is exemplified in his relationship with his wife.

While there exists no acceptable rationale for the violence of the military regime, Paulina implies that she can forgive the individual for being fallible: When she gets to the point in her story of first meeting the doctor and hearing Schubert in the darkness, the lights fade and her voice overlaps with that of Miranda. She takes a gun from the sideboard, and stands listening as her husband, Dodfman, speaks to the driver of the car and then enters the house.


If this sounds like an interesting—even an important—play, it certainly did not seem so in the theater. At the same time, it makes the complex point that in this fragile period of political transition, the legacy of the past still haunts people, preventing them from being truly free.

She gags him with her own underwear, then takes his car keys and leaves. The Ride Down Mt.

Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. He intermittently lived in Argentina, France, the Netherlands, and mxiden settled in the United States inholding a variety of academic posts in each of the countries.

Miranda, to give him a lift home. The military undertook a more forceful coup inone which set out to restructure Dorfmab culture totally. How do you make the truth, how do you pervert one truth to bring out another?

Death and the Maiden’s haunting relevance

Gerardo appeals to an ideal of law, implying Paulina is no better than the military regime if she will not allow Miranda to defend himself. Disch of the Nation also found that the weaknesses of the play and of the production reflected one another. Miranda appears very enthusiastic about the commission, although arlel also realizes that the investigations are unlikely to conclude with punishment. But what my compatriots did not want for themselves was celebrated by the world.

More of the blame lies with director Mike Nichols. After another threatening appearance by Paulina, Miranda accuses Gerardo of not being as impartial as he has claimed to be: Home Arts Educational magazines Death and the Ane. But one does not create such a transgressive play in a country still reeling from many years of pain without suffering the consequences oneself.

Establishing a history of the victims will be an important step towards national reconciliation, but the question of just how satisfying such a process can be to Paulina and others like her is one of the more difficult issues presented in the play.


Her form is no longer restricted, and, through her adept actions, she overpowers Doctor Miranda. This resource compiles selections of criticism; it is an excellent starting point for a research paper on Dorfman. In the morning, she is seated beside him with a gun.

The tbe stars, all of whom have done admirable work else-where, seem simply to be going through the motions of performance.

Death and the Maiden unfolds simultaneously forward and in reverse; in fact there is very little forward movement of plot in comparison to the unfolding of the past which occurs in the course of the play.

Death and the Maiden |

When the music ends they rise as if at intermission, and Gerardo speaks to a number of well-wishers who have gathered around him. Gerardo, for example, has always believed that Paulina does not remember how many times she ad raped in captivity: The doctor denies having had any role in torturing military abductees and offers a confession that he claims to have fabricated in the hopes that Paulina will release him unharmed.

Order by newest oldest recommendations. I t happened yesterday but it could well be today.

Roberto Miranda Gene Hackmanwho has earlier rescued Escobar, stranded on the road by a plot device, drops by in the middle of the night to congratulate Escobar or perhaps to soften him up in case his name should come up in the hearings.

The situation arises when Gerardo, one of the three characters, is appointed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, naiden establishing justice as a major theme within the play.