Though the play for the most part sticks to strict realist principles, with believable dialogue and a unity of time and place, Dorfmann completely disrupts this stability at the play’s conclusion. His stage directions give instructions for a giant mirror to be lowered down from the theater ceiling in order to reflect the audience members’ own images back at them. This expressionistic device thus asks them to question how they relate to what they have just seen, provoking them to consider how they would react in the characters’ situations. More widely, the mirror gestures towards an idea of collective responsibility—that everyone in society has a part to play in how society takes shape.
The Mirror Quotes in Death and the Maiden
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.