• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

In Death and The Maiden, Paulina's struggle is symbolic of the struggle of oppressed nations all over the world. What is the message that Dorfman is trying to express through her? To what extent is he successful?

Extracts from this document...


Paulina's struggle is symbolic of the struggle of oppressed nations all over the world. What is the message that Dorfman is trying to express through her? To what extent is he successful? Chile, an oppressed nation, held in fear for fifteen years. Like many others in the country, Paulina Salas was tortured for weeks, and for fifteen years she has not been able to accept the crimes done to her and has therefore not been able to move on with her life. Death and the Maiden starts of with Paulina hiding when she hears an unfamiliar sound, which immediately makes the audience wonder why she has that fear. Throughout the play the audience is introduced to the situation where Paulina was raped and tortured fifteen years ago during Pinochet's rule. Through the kidnapping of her oppressor and forcing a confession out of him, Paulina represents the wishes of all the others in her situation, as she takes action to gain justice for herself. Dorfman brings out the message of firstly, forgiving and forgetting, which is portrayed through her conflict with not only Roberto, but also Gerardo. Secondly he brings out the message of revenge compared to self justice, which is shown to the audience through Paulina's debate throughout the play as to whether she kills Roberto or not, as well as through her interaction with Gerardo. ...read more.


The fact that she wants Roberto to confess, the fact that she wants a copy on tape and handwritten copy to keep, shows the audience that even a simple act such as this is going to help her. It shows the audience that she is so desperate to have something to hold onto, to help her let go. Paulina also has a situation with Gerardo, which holds her back, and which keeps her from killing Roberto throughout the play. The audience learns that Paulina was taken because her oppressors wanted to know Gerardo's name, but she never gave it to him. When they finally let her go, she went back home, and finds Gerardo with another woman. When the play commences, Paulina has a very strange conversation with Gerardo, which brings up questions in the audiences mind as to what to expect. "Was she pretty at least? Sexy...Why do you always have to suppose there's a woman... Why indeed? I just cant imagine why." Here Paulina is talking about the person who brought Gerardo home. She is suspicious of it being a woman, and the audience immediately questions why she would make such accusations. We later learn that there is great tension between Gerardo and Paulina. Paulina has not been able to let go of Gerardo cheating on her, which we see when she makes Gerardo tell her about the affair. ...read more.


Paulina has acted on her impulses to help herself be free, whereas most others will only think about it. Dorfman also shows the audience that those who seek self justice often start trying to gain revenge, yet they do not know they have crossed the borderline between the two. In Death and The Maiden, Paulina is made to represent the thoughts and wishes of all those who have been oppressed, not only in Chile but in oppressed nations all over the world. Dorfman represents these people through Paulina's actions. Firstly, we see this through Paulina kidnapping her oppressor and forcing a confession out of him. We also see this representation when Paulina decides that she wants to kill Roberto, although we do not know if she does or not. Paulina is shown to be crossing the line between self justice and revenge, which represents all those in her situation. Dorfman tries to show that people who try to gain self justice often end up crossing the lines to revenge without even knowing it. Death and The Maiden, is a play to show the world the mental and emotional state of those who had been oppressed in Chile during the rule of Pinochet. Ariel Dorfman uses the character of Paulina, and her actions and interactions with other characters to represent not only those oppressed in Chile, but all other oppressed nations around the world. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Winters Tale section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Winters Tale essays

  1. "The Winter's Tale" written by William Shakespeare.

    Paulina is one of Shakespeare's most fearless heroines, defiantly scolding the king and defending the Queen. She is able to get away with scolding him because he does not see her as an equal. This can be noticed when Leontes addresses Antigonus, Paulina's husband rather than her.

  2. How are women represented in "The Winter's Tale"? How might a modern audience react ...

    exaggerated her actions towards Leontes and wasted sixteen years of Hermione and Leontes's lives. However, the audience will certainly feel happy that Leontes and Hermione can finally be happy together after all they have endured together. According to one criticism of the Winter's Tale by Inga-Stina Ewbank (1964), "The exquisite

  1. Explore the role of women in 'The Winters Tale'

    When Hermione faints, Paulina immediately implies that Hermione is dying "see what death is doing". The fact that she jumps to conclusions, suggests that she has a plan brewing to get revenge on Leontes and has the power to do this by saying that Hermione is dead.

  2. "The Winters Tale is not so much about the triumph of time but the ...

    Hermione's greatest triumph in this scene is her ability to use the quiet and submissive nature thrust upon her by males to triumph over them. She accepts her accusations and defends herself in a clear and concise manner. Her confidence emphasises her innocence and the clarity and calmness of her

  1. It has been said that in "The Winter's Tale" Shakespeare dramatises the contemporary struggle ...

    Paulina not only criticises the system but also provides alternatives and takes concrete action, aiming for justice and redemption. She uses the dramatic device of placing the King's baby daughter in front of him; "hath bought you forth a daughter; / Here 'tis; commends it to your blessing."

  2. Discuss the roles and dramatic significance of the three main female characters in the ...

    This idea is important to the position of women in The Winter's Tale as it strengthens their position as being the strong, virtuous characters in the play who area able to change things. Paulina is gifted with a sharp tongue and she is equally keen minded aswell as being absolutely dauntless.

  1. Shakespeare's A Winters Tale Scene by Scene Analysis.

    Three closely connected themes come play themselves out in Scene Two. The responsibility of kings, the threat of tyranny, and the connection between the king as head of the family and the king as head of state (patriarchy, "rule of the father," in all senses of the word): these are

  2. How does Shakespeare present relationships between men and women in The Winter's Tale and ...

    Hermione is the faithful, never doubting, humble wife who will stand by her husband even amidst his throes of jealousy and tyranny and place her trust in destiny and the stars: "HERMIONE I must be patient till the heavens look With an aspect more favourable.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work