Death and the Maiden

by

Ariel Dorfman

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Paulina Salas Character Analysis

Paulina Salas is a woman of around forty years who is married to Gerardo Escobar. From the beginning of the play it’s clear that Paulina is agitated and traumatized by something in her past. When Gerardo returns home late in the first scene, for example, she grabs a gun from a drawer and hides behind a curtain, thinking he might be an intruder. Over the course of the play, Paulina reveals more about the terrible suffering she endured under the country’s former military dictatorship. Once a promising young medical student, one fateful day she was kidnapped by armed men and made to endure a lengthy period of imprisonment, torture, and rape. Her rapist, a doctor, would play Schubert to her during his attacks. Schubert, once her favorite composer, from then on made her feel physical ill whenever she heard it. When Roberto Miranda turns up, seemingly by chance, at the beach house shared by Paulina and Gerardo, Paulina is certain from his voice and mannerisms that Roberto is the same doctor who raped and tortured her (she was blindfolded throughout). She thus decides to put him on trial, tying him at gunpoint and forcing him to confess. During the hours that he is tied up, Paulina talks at length about her life. The audience must decide whether Paulina’s certainty of Roberto’s identity can be trusted, or if she is, as Roberto and Gerardo frequently describe her, “sick.” Either way, she sees her actions as a way of taking back a part of herself that was lost long ago. Though she loves Gerardo, she doesn’t trust the commission into past atrocities that he has just been appointed to run, believing that it won’t investigate a case like hers and won’t lead to any prosecutions. Her actions in the play, then, represent an attempt on her part to take control of her situation and find justice.

Paulina Salas Quotes in Death and the Maiden

The Death and the Maiden quotes below are all either spoken by Paulina Salas or refer to Paulina Salas. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Death and the Maiden published in 1991.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

GERARDO: If I were to accept, I must know I can count on you, that you don’t feel . . . if you were to have a relapse, it could leave me . . .

PAULINA: Vulnerable, yes, it could leave you vulnerable. Stripped. You’d have to take care of me all over again.

GERARDO: That’s unfair.

Brief pause.

Are you criticizing me because I take care of you?

PAULINA: And that’s what you told the president, that your wife might have problems with . . .

Pause.

GERARDO: He doesn’t know. Nobody knows. Not even your mother knows.

Related Characters: Paulina Salas (speaker), Gerardo Escobar (speaker)
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

PAULINA: Find out what happened. Find out everything. Promise me that you’ll find everything that . . .—

GERARDO: Everything. Everything we can. We’ll go as far as we . . . (Pause.) As we’re . . .

PAULINA: Allowed.

GERARDO: Limited, let’s say we’re limited. But there is so much we can do. . . . We’ll publish our conclusions. There will be an official report. What happened will be established objectively, so no one will ever be able to deny it, so that our country will never again live through the excesses that . . .

PAULINA: And then?

GERARDO is silent.

You hear the relatives of the victims, you denounce the crimes, what happens to the criminals?

GERARDO: That depends on the judges. The courts receive a copy of the evidence and the judges proceed from there to—

PAULINA: The judges? The same judges who never intervened to save one life in seventeen years of dictatorship? Who never accepted a single habeas corpus ever? Judge Peralta who told that poor woman who had come to ask for her missing husband that the man had probably grown tired of her and run off with some other woman? That judge? What did you call him? A judge? A judge?

As she speaks, PAULINA begins to laugh softly but with increasing hysteria.

Related Characters: Paulina Salas (speaker), Gerardo Escobar (speaker)
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

GERARDO: Oh, it’s you. God, you scared the shit out of me.

ROBERTO: I’m really so sorry for this—intrusion. I thought you’d still be up celebrating.

GERARDO: You must excuse my . . . — do come in.

ROBERTO enters the house.

It’s just that we still haven’t got used to it.

ROBERTO: Used to it?

GERARDO: To democracy. That someone knocks on your door at midnight and it’s a friend and not . . . —

Related Characters: Gerardo Escobar (speaker), Roberto Miranda (speaker), Paulina Salas
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:

ROBERTO: No, I am telling you, and this is said straight from the heart, this Commission is going to help us close an exceptionally painful chapter in our history, and here I am, alone this weekend, we’ve all got to help out—it may be a teensy-weensy gesture but—

GERARDO: Tomorrow would have been fine.

ROBERTO: Tomorrow? You manage to get to your car—no spare. Then you have to set out and find me. No, my friend,— and then I thought I might as well offer to go fix it with you tomorrow with my jack—which reminds me— what happened to your jack, did you find out what—

GERARDO: My wife loaned it to her mother.

ROBERTO: To her mother?

GERARDO: You know women. . . .

ROBERTO (laughing): All too well. The last mystery. We are going to explore all the frontiers, my friend, and we will still have that unpredictable female soul. You know what Nietzsche once wrote—at least I think it was Nietzsche? That we can never entirely possess that female soul. Or maybe it wasn’t him. Though you can be sure that old Nietzsche would have if he’d found himself on a weekend road without a jack.

Related Characters: Gerardo Escobar (speaker), Roberto Miranda (speaker), Paulina Salas
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1, Scene 3 Quotes

We see her dragging something in, which resembles a body but we can’t be sure. As the scene continues, it can be seen that it is a body. She moves a chair and hoists the body onto it, ties it to the chair. She goes into the spare room, returns with what seems to be Roberto’s jacket, takes a set of car keys

from it. She starts to leave the house. Stops. Turns back to look at the body which is now clearly that of Roberto. She takes off her panties, stuffs it into Roberto’s mouth.

Related Characters: Paulina Salas, Roberto Miranda
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1, Scene 4 Quotes

PAULINA: But here I am chatting away when I’m supposed to make breakfast, aren’t I, a nice breakfast? Now you like—let’s see, ham sandwiches, wasn’t it? Ham sandwiches with mayonnaise. We haven’t got mayonnaise, but we do have ham. Gerardo also likes ham. I’ll get to know your other tastes. Sorry about the mayonnaise. I hope you don’t mind that this must remain, for the moment, a monologue. You’ll have your say, Doctor, you can be sure of that. I just don’t want to remove this— gag, you call it, don’t you?—at least not till Gerardo wakes up.

Related Characters: Paulina Salas (speaker), Gerardo Escobar, Roberto Miranda
Related Symbols: The Gun
Page Number: 20-21
Explanation and Analysis:

PAULINA: D’you know how long it’s been since I last listened to this quartet? If it’s on the radio, I turn it off, I even try not to go out much, though Gerardo has all these social events he’s got to attend and if they ever name him minister we’re going to live running around shaking hands and smiling at perfect strangers, but I always pray they won’t put on Schubert. One night we were dining with— they were extremely important people, and our hostess happened to put Schubert on, a piano sonata, and I thought, do I switch it off or do I leave, but my body decided for me, I felt extremely ill right then and there and Gerardo had to take me home, so we left them there listening to Schubert and nobody knew what had made me ill, so I pray they won’t play that anywhere I go, any Schubert at all, strange isn’t it, when he used to be, and I would say, yes I really would say, he’s still my favorite composer, such a sad, noble sense of life. But I always promised myself a time would come to recover him, bring him back from the grave so to speak, and just sitting here listening to him with you I know that I was right, that I’m—so many things that are going to change from now on, right? To think I was on the verge of throwing my whole Schubert collection out, crazy!

(raising her voice, to Gerardo)

Isn’t this quartet marvellous, my love?

[…]

The real real truth is that you look slightly bored.

Related Characters: Paulina Salas (speaker), Gerardo Escobar, Roberto Miranda
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

PAULINA: It’s his voice. I recognized it as soon as he came in here last night. The way he laughs. Certain phrases he uses.

GERARDO: But that’s not . . .

PAULINA: It may be a teensy-weensy thing, but it’s enough for me. During all these years not an hour has passed that I haven’t heard it, that same voice, next to me, next to my ear, that voice mixed with saliva, you think I’d forget a voice like his?

(Imitating the voice of Roberto, then of a man)

“Give her a bit more. This bitch can take a bit more. Give it to her.”

“You sure, Doctor? What if the cunt dies on us?”

“She’s not even near fainting. Give it to her, up another notch.”

Related Characters: Paulina Salas (speaker), Gerardo Escobar (speaker), Roberto Miranda
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

GERARDO: Paulina, I’m asking you to please give me that gun.

PAULINA: No.

GERARDO: While you point it at me, there is no possible dialogue.

PAULINA: On the contrary, as soon as I stop pointing it at you, all dialogue will automatically terminate. If I put it down you’ll use your strength to win the argument.

[…]

GERARDO: You can’t do this.

PAULINA: When are you going to stop telling me what I can and can’t do. “You can’t do this, you can do that, you can’t do this.” I did it.

Related Characters: Paulina Salas (speaker), Gerardo Escobar (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Gun
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

GERARDO: Please, Paulina, could we start being reasonable, start acting as if—

PAULINA: You be reasonable. They never did anything to you.

GERARDO: They did things, of course they did things—but we’re not competing for some horror prize here, damn it— let’s try and be reasonable. Even if this man was the doctor of those terrible events—he isn’t, there’s no reason why he should be, but let’s say he was—even in that case, what right do you have to bind him like this, baby, look at what you’re doing, Paulina, think of the consequences of—

Related Characters: Paulina Salas (speaker), Gerardo Escobar (speaker), Roberto Miranda
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

PAULINA: You don’t know anything about Gerardo, do you?—I mean you never knew a thing. I never breathed his name. Your—your colleagues, they’d ask me, of course. “With that twat, little lady, don’t tell you haven’t got someone to fuck you, huh? Come on, just tell us who’s been fucking you, little lady.” But I never gave them Gerardo’s name. Strange how things turn out. If I had mentioned Gerardo, he wouldn’t have been named to any Investigating Commission, but would have been one of the names that some other lawyer was investigating. And I would be in front of that Commission to tell them how I met Gerardo—in fact I met him just after the military coup, helping people seek asylum in embassies—saving lives with Gerardo, smuggling people out of the country so they wouldn’t be killed. I was wild and fearless, willing to do anything, I can’t believe that I didn’t have an ounce of fear in my whole body at that time.

Related Characters: Paulina Salas (speaker), Gerardo Escobar, Roberto Miranda
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

ROBERTO: (coughs, then in a rough, hoarse voice): Water.

GERARDO: What?

PAULINA: He wants water, Gerardo.

Gerardo rushes to fill a glass with water and brings it to Roberto, giving it to him to drink. Roberto drinks it down noisily.

PAULINA: Nothing like good fresh water, eh, Doctor? Beats drinking your own piss.

ROBERTO: Escobar. This is inexcusable. I will never forgive you as long as I live.

Related Characters: Paulina Salas (speaker), Gerardo Escobar (speaker), Roberto Miranda (speaker)
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

GERARDO: But then, what are you going to do to him? With him? You’re going to—what? What are you going to—and all this because fifteen years ago someone . . .

PAULINA: Someone what? . . . what did they do to me, Gerardo. Say it.

Brief pause.

You never wanted to say it. Say it now. They . . .

GERARDO: If you didn’t say it, how was I going to?

PAULINA: Say it now.

GERARDO: I only know what you told me that first night, when . . .

PAULINA: They . . .

GERARDO: They . . .

PAULINA: Tell me, tell me.

GERARDO: They— tortured you. Now you say it.

PAULINA: They tortured me. And what else? What else did they do to me, Gerardo?

Gerardo goes to her, takes her in his arms.

GERARDO (whispering to her): They raped you.

PAULINA: How many times?

GERARDO: More than once.

PAULINA: How many times?

GERARDO: You never said. I didn’t count, you said.

PAULINA: It’s not true.

GERARDO: What’s not true?

PAULINA: That I didn’t count. I always kept count. I know how many times.

Related Characters: Paulina Salas (speaker), Gerardo Escobar (speaker)
Page Number: 34-35
Explanation and Analysis:

PAULINA: Oh, my little man, you do fall for every trick in the book, don’t you? Gerardo, you have my promise, as solemn as it can be, that this private trial will not affect you or the Commission. Do you really think I’d do anything to trouble the Commission, stop you from finding out where the bodies of the missing prisoners are, how people were executed, where they’re buried. But the members of the Commission only deal with the dead, with those who can’t speak. And I can speak—it’s been years since I murmured even a word, I haven’t opened my mouth to even whisper a breath of what I’m thinking, years living in terror of my own . . . but I’m not dead, I thought I was but I’m not and I can speak, damn it—so for God’s sake let me have my say and you go ahead with your Commission and believe me when I tell you that none of this is going to be made public.

GERARDO: Even in that case—I have to resign no matter what, and the sooner, the better.

Related Characters: Paulina Salas (speaker), Gerardo Escobar (speaker)
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

PAULINA:I would imagine pushing their head into a bucket of their own shit, or electricity, or when we would be making love and I could feel the possibility of an orgasm building, the very idea of currents going through my body would remind me and then—and then I had to fake it, fake it so you wouldn’t know what I was thinking, so you wouldn’t feel that it was your failure—oh Gerardo.

GERARDO: Oh, my love, my love.

PAULINA: So when I heard his voice, I thought the only thing 1want is to have him raped, have someone fuck him, that’s what I thought, that he should know just once what it is to . . . And as I can’t rape—I thought that it was a sentence that you would have to carry out.

GERARDO: Don’t go on, Paulina.

Related Characters: Paulina Salas (speaker), Gerardo Escobar (speaker), Roberto Miranda
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

GERARDO: Roberto, I want to be honest with you. There is only one way to save your life . . .

Brief pause.

I think we have to—indulge her.

ROBERTO: Indulge her?

GERARDO: Humor her, placate her, so she feels that we—that you, are willing to cooperate . . .

Related Characters: Gerardo Escobar (speaker), Roberto Miranda (speaker), Paulina Salas
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

ROBERTO: Playing roles, she’s bad, you’re good, to see if you can get me to confess that way. And once I’ve confessed, you’re the one, not her, you’re the one who’s going to kill me, it’s what any man would do, any real man, if they’d raped his wife, it’s what I would do if somebody had raped my wife. Cut your balls off. So tell me: you think I’m that fucking doctor, don’t you?

Pause. Gerardo stands up.

Where are you going?

GERARDO: I’m going to get the gun and blow your fucking brains out. (Brief pause. Angrier and angrier) But first you sonuvabitch I’m going to follow your advice and cut off your balls, you fascist. That’s what a real man does, doesn’t he. Real macho men blow people’s brains out and fuck women when they’re tied up on cots. Not like me. I’m a stupid, yellow, soft faggot because I defend the son of a bitch who screwed my wife and destroyed her life. How many times did you screw her? How many times, you bastard?

Related Characters: Gerardo Escobar (speaker), Roberto Miranda (speaker), Paulina Salas
Related Symbols: The Gun
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

GERARDO: People can die from an excessive dose of the truth, you know.

Related Characters: Gerardo Escobar (speaker), Paulina Salas
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

ROBERTO: A kind of—brutalization took over my life, I began to really truly like what I was doing. It became a game. My curiosity was partly morbid, partly scientific. How much can this woman take? More than the other one? How’s her sex? Does her sex dry up when you put the current through her? Can she have an orgasm under those circumstances? She is entirely in your power, you can carry out all your fantasies, you can do what you want with her.

Related Characters: Roberto Miranda (speaker), Paulina Salas
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

Gerardo and Paulina sit in their seats. Roberto goes to another seat, always looking at Paulina. Applause is heard when the imaginary musicians come on. The instruments are tested and tuned. Then Death and the Maiden begins. Gerardo looks at Paulina, who looks forward. He takes her hand and then also begins to look forward. After a few instants, she turns slowly and looks at Roberto. Their eyes interlock for a moment. Then she turns her head and faces tire stage and the mirror. The lights go down while the music plays and plays and plays.

Related Symbols: The Mirror
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
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Death and the Maiden PDF

Paulina Salas Character Timeline in Death and the Maiden

The timeline below shows where the character Paulina Salas appears in Death and the Maiden. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
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Paulina Salas, a woman who is about forty. years old, sits on the terrace of her... (full context)
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Paulina hears a car approach the house and seems agitated. She takes a gun out of... (full context)
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Gerardo explains to Paulina he was talking to the “great guy” who stopped to help him when his car... (full context)
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Gerardo informs Paulina that he has invited “Doctor Miranda”—the good Samaritan who helped him on the road—over for... (full context)
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Gerardo says he’s worried about what would happen if Paulina were to have a “relapse” while he was running the commission. She seems annoyed, asking... (full context)
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Paulina asks if the commission will only investigate the “most serious cases”—meaning the ones that ended... (full context)
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Gerardo tries to reassure Paulina about the commission, saying it will do as much as it can to shine a... (full context)
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Paulina asks if Gerardo has already said yes to the president. He says he didn’t want... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
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An hour later, a car approaches Paulina and Gerardo’s beach house once more. Hearing a knock at the door, Gerardo goes to... (full context)
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...yet, “that someone knocks on your door at midnight and it’s a friend and not…” Paulina edges out to the terrace to hear the conversation, taking care not to be seen. (full context)
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Gerardo thanks Roberto, and the two men laugh about how Paulina gave Gerardo’s car jack to her mother. Gerardo says, “you know women.” At this, Roberto... (full context)
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...he stay the night with them, refusing to take no for an answer. He says Paulina will cook them breakfast, which convinces Roberto to stay. Besides, says Roberto, the “real real... (full context)
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...“two things you never share.” They go to their respective bedrooms. As Gerardo explains to Paulina that they have a guest, she pretends to be half-asleep. “Tomorrow,” Gerardo tells Paulina, “you... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
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During the night, Paulina comes into the living room. She retrieves the gun again, as well as what appear... (full context)
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Paulina enters Roberto’s bedroom, and there is a “confusing muffled sound, followed by a sort of... (full context)
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Paulina retrieves Roberto’s car keys from the spare room. Before leaving the house, she takes off... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
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...dawn, Roberto regains consciousness. Realizing he is tied up, he struggles desperately—and unsuccessfully—to free himself. Paulina sits in front of him with the gun. With a calm demeanor, she says: “Good... (full context)
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Paulina talks about a female friend she had at medical school who was also a “Miranda.”... (full context)
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Paulina explains that she was fortunate that she had Gerardo to turn to after she left... (full context)
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Paulina also apologizes to Roberto that “this must remain, for the moment, a monologue.” She says... (full context)
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Paulina takes out a cassette of Schubert’s string quartet “Death and the Maiden,” which she found... (full context)
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Paulina calls out to Gerardo, “Isn’t this quartet marvelous, my love?” She says to Roberto that... (full context)
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...takes him a moment to notice the scene in front of him. Astonished, he asks Paulina, “what the hell is going on” referring to the scene as a “kind of madness.”... (full context)
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Paulina says she may be “sick” but she can still recognize a voice. She asks Roberto... (full context)
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Paulina imitates Roberto’s voice in conversation with another man, saying, “‘Give her a bit more. This... (full context)
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Gerardo pleads with Paulina to put down the gun, saying there is “no possible dialogue” while she points it... (full context)
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Gerardo asks Paulina to untie Roberto. When she insists that she won’t, he moves towards Roberto. At this,... (full context)
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Paulina suddenly remembers that that she has phoned a mechanic and tells Gerardo to get dressed... (full context)
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The mechanics truck pulls up outside, prompting Paulina to close the curtains. Gerardo asks her if she’s considered that he could call the... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
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It’s now midday. Roberto is still tied up. Paulina is talking to him, looking out at the sea, rocking gently in her chair. She... (full context)
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Paulina breaks off to say how “bizarre” it is that she is telling Roberto these things... (full context)
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Paulina continues, talking about Gerardo. Roberto’s colleagues, she says, wanted to know who was “fucking” her.... (full context)
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Gerardo arrives back at the house, prompting Paulina to pick up the gun again. She asks him whether the flat tire was easy... (full context)
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Paulina removes the gag from Roberto and switches on a cassette recorder, telling him that everything... (full context)
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...Gerardo, saying, “this is inexcusable. I will never forgive you as long as I live.” Paulina checks the tape recorder is working and plays back Roberto’s words. Roberto protests his innocence,... (full context)
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Paulina points the gun at Roberto’s head, asking, “who are you threatening?” She tells him that... (full context)
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Paulina escorts Roberto to the toilet at gunpoint. When they return, she makes Gerardo tie up... (full context)
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Gerardo questions Paulina’s intentions with these “insane acts.” She says it’s not “vengeance,” as she is going to... (full context)
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Gerardo, exasperated, asks what Paulina is going to do Roberto, “all this because fifteen years ago someone…” Paulina implores Gerardo... (full context)
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Paulina returns to the topic of the night she was released. She remembers Gerardo saying they... (full context)
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Paulina tells Gerardo that he’s being naïve. She says the Commission can’t help her, as it... (full context)
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Paulina asks Gerardo to “wait just a sec.” She goes back into the living room and... (full context)
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Paulina returns to the terrace and tells Gerardo that it’s not just Roberto’s voice she recognizes—it’s... (full context)
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Paulina suggests that she and Gerardo “reach a compromise … Isn’t that what this transition is... (full context)
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When she first heard Roberto’s voice last night, Paulina explains, her initial thought had been to do to him exactly what was done to... (full context)
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Paulina goes on, explaining that the only thing that got her through life after what happened... (full context)
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Paulina explains that after those fantasies of revenge she’d decided that what she actually wants from... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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...his back. Gerardo insists on addressing Roberto as “Doctor Miranda”—as if he were a client. Paulina watches from the terrace. Roberto says Paulina is “mad” and needs some sort of “psychiatric... (full context)
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Gerardo tells Roberto that he needs to confess, otherwise Paulina will kill him. Roberto protests that he has nothing to confess, though he is aware... (full context)
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Paulina comes back in. Gerardo asks if she can leave so that he can finish his... (full context)
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Gerardo again suggests that Roberto falsify a confession in order to “indulge” Paulina and be freed. He thinks that might “liberate her from her phantoms.” Roberto accuses Gerardo... (full context)
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Female Empowerment Theme Icon
...tells Gerardo that he was only “joking.” Gerardo says that he is going to fetch Paulina and let her have the pleasure of killing Roberto. Gerardo says he’s tired of being... (full context)
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
...asks if Gerardo believes in his innocence, saying he cares what Gerardo thinks (but not Paulina): “She isn’t the voice of a civilization, you are. She isn’t a member of the... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Just before evening, Paulina and Gerardo sit on the terrace facing the sea. Gerardo has the cassette recorder on... (full context)
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Paulina says she’s already told Gerardo about what happened. He replies that she had started to,... (full context)
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
...so much pain and resentment,” and wants them to finish “that conversation from years ago.” Paulina makes him tell her how many times he slept with the other woman. He admits... (full context)
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Female Empowerment Theme Icon
Gerardo, increasingly exasperated, say to Paulina that he is her hands: “like a baby, I’ve got no defenses, I’m naked in... (full context)
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
Female Empowerment Theme Icon
Gerardo asks Paulina never to mention “that bitch of a night again.” If they keep talking about it,... (full context)
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Female Empowerment Theme Icon
Civilization and Violence Theme Icon
On Gerardo’s instruction, Paulina states her name and the date of her kidnapping. She explains how, on that day,... (full context)
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Civilization and Violence Theme Icon
The lights go down as Paulina explains how, when she first met “Doctor Miranda” three days later she thought “he would... (full context)
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Roberto’s voice takes over from Paulina, continuing with her discussion. The second movement from Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” plays. Roberto... (full context)
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
Civilization and Violence Theme Icon
...But over time “the mask of virtue” fell away and he began to feel “excitement.” Paulina Salas, he says, came to him when it was already too late. (full context)
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
Civilization and Violence Theme Icon
...Roberto’s recorded voice says that he took part in the “interrogation of ninety-four prisoners, including Paulina Salas”—all he asks for now is “forgiveness.” Gerardo pauses the cassette so Roberto can copy... (full context)
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
With the confession finished, Roberto asks Paulina if he wants him to sign it. She tells him first to write down that... (full context)
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
Female Empowerment Theme Icon
Paulina picks up the paper before putting the confession on again from the beginning. Gerardo tells... (full context)
Female Empowerment Theme Icon
Civilization and Violence Theme Icon
Paulina throws Roberto’s car keys to Gerardo and tells him to get his car. Gerardo goes... (full context)
Civilization and Violence Theme Icon
Paulina points the gun at Roberto, telling him he has a minute to pray. He stands... (full context)
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
Female Empowerment Theme Icon
Roberto claims not to understand why Paulina now wants to kill him: after all, she gave Gerardo her word that she would... (full context)
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
Female Empowerment Theme Icon
Paulina tells Roberto that, when she had told everything to Gerardo earlier, she deliberately switched the... (full context)
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
Female Empowerment Theme Icon
Civilization and Violence Theme Icon
Roberto pleads with Paulina: “What more do you want?” She insists she wants the truth; if he gives her... (full context)
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
Female Empowerment Theme Icon
Civilization and Violence Theme Icon
Paulina asks why it is always people like her “who have to sacrifice, why are we... (full context)
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
Roberto and Paulina freeze as music by Mozart drifts in. Here, the stage directions give instructions for a... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
Civilization and Violence Theme Icon
It’s some months later. Paulina and Gerardo are at a concert, elegantly dressed. They sit in the crowd (perhaps in... (full context)
Memory, Trauma, and the Senses Theme Icon
Authority, Society, and the Public Theme Icon
Civilization and Violence Theme Icon
Paulina, meanwhile, has bought some candy. Roberto enters, under a ghostly moonlight of a “phantasmagoric” quality.... (full context)