Death and The Maiden / Gerardo

Play Details

Scene Details

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Summary Details

  • "Paulina, would you please do me the favour of leaving so that we can continue our conversation? Would you please do me that favour? When crazy people have power, you’ve got to indulge them. In her case, a confession - maybe it liberates her from her phantoms, how can I know what goes on in peoples heads after they’ve been - but I think I understand that need of hers because it coincides with what we were talking about last night, the whole country’s need to put into words what happened to us." "Put him on trial, what does that mean, put him on trial? We can’t use their methods. We’re different. And his - colleagues - are you going to kidnap them and bring them here and tie them up and - kill them? It’s good to know that, Paulina, because you would have to kill me too, I’m warning you that if you intend to kill him, you’re going to have to kill me first." Paulina Escobar is a now-freed political prisoner in an unnamed Latin American country who had been raped by her captors, led by a sadistic doctor whose face she never saw. The song Schubert's composition Death is played while she is raped; hence the play's title. Years later, after the (also unnamed) repressive regime has fallen, Paulina lives in an isolated country house with her husband, Gerardo. When Gerardo comes back from a visit to the president, he gets a flat car tire. A stranger, Dr. Miranda stops to assist him and drives Gerardo home. Paulina recognizes Miranda's voice and mannerism as that of her rapist, and takes him captive in order to extract a confession from him. Gerardo is unconveinced Miranda's crime and acts as his lawyer to save his life. After hearing the full story of her captivity from Paulina, Gerardo formulates a confession with Roberto to appease Paulina's madness and set her free from her past. Paulina records the entire confession and has Roberto write it out and sign it. She sends Gerardo out to get Roberto's car so he can go home. While they are alone for the last time, Paulina accuses Roberto of being unrepentant and guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. She reveals that she lied to her husband in her story and that Dr. Miranda corrected the errors. The scene is cut off before Paulina finishes her speech and it is left up to the audience whether or not Roberto is killed. The final scene shows Gerardo and Paulina at a Schubert concert much later talking to people. Gerardo discusses the success of the committee he is on to investigate the crimes of the former regime. Roberto is seen at a distance also at the play and whether or not he is really there or just in Paulina's mind is also left up to the audience.