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Compare and contrast the theme of 'revenge' and its after-effect in Isabel Allende's 'House of Spirits' and Ariel Dorfman's 'D

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Compare and contrast the themes of justice and revenge and its after-effect in Isabel Allende's 'House of the Spirits' and Ariel Dorfman's 'Death and the Maiden'. 'House of the Spirits' serves as a paradigm of a novel based on magical realism. It is an amalgamation of real life events, magical events, a family saga and cyclicality of life. Written by a Chilean journalist and author Isabel Allende in the year 1982, it has several semblances with contemporary Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman's 'Death and the Maiden' written in the year 1992. 'Death and the maiden' is a stimulating drama combining theatricality with clear thought and fierce compassion. It is set in a country that has recently returned to democracy. Both of the writers were successful in unzipping their thoughts and motifs through different ways of literary work. The time period in Isabel Allende's novel stretches for about four generations but Dorfman's play is confined to just a few days. Inspite of the differences in genres of literature they have several similarities in the matter presented. Political upheaval, women's role, power of writing, revenge, justice, affinity to the real life and its cyclical nature can be seen in both the works. The themes of revenge and justice are quite clear in both 'House of the Spirits' and 'Death and the Maiden'. ...read more.


As with 'House of the Spirits' it took a couple of pages to present the building of the revenge but in the 'Death and the Maiden' the same message is made clear in just few lines. It's his voice. I recognised it as soon as he came in here last night. The way he laughs. Certain phrases he uses.2 She always had the bitterness and longing for revenge or justice in a latent corner of her heart. When she hears the voice of Dr. Miranda, her victimizer, all the memories of the terrible event storms in her mind. She addresses Dr. Miranda as Roberto, which she believes is the actual name of Dr. Miranda, who tortured her in the past. Once a victim Paulina becomes the victimizer. Even after fifteen years of the horrifying event she has not been able to recuperate. The bitterness, which she has been hiding for all these years, punches out easily in her deed of obtaining justice: A justice that the investigating committee headed by her husband is unable to give her. Initially she wants Roberto to be raped and fucked by someone so that he knows what it is actually like. But later on it is made clear that Paulina does not want an exact revenge of what Roberto did to her. ...read more.


Miranda is Roberto. After Dr. Miranda's confession, Paulina's wishes are fulfilled. The last scene of the play is a demonstration of everything reaching at a point of conciliation and everything starting all afresh. Paulina is again the loyal wife, Gerardo a well-admired judge and Miranda is again Dr. Miranda, not Roberto. The main difference between the two literary works here is the time taken for the justice to be achieved. It took just two nights for Paulina to gain her justice for the injuries suffered fifteen years ago. On the other hand for Esteban Garcia it took almost a lifetime to take his revenge and gain justice. We see that both the works belong to different genres. But the importance is not of the different genres; it is about the message that they want to put forward. The main collateral motif between the novel and play is to delineate the history of a nation. Ariel Dorfman clearly mentions the country to be Chile but in 'House of the Spirits' it is not mentioned but the military regime resembles perfectly those of the South America's southern cone. The history is about the political upheaval in the nation, an uneasy transition to democracy. Several atrocities, revenges and processes of bringing justice accompany the transition. These two books portray the scenario of that uneasy era. Isabel Allende and Ariel Dorfman exhibit the situation in outstanding ways. ...read more.

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