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

Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden 40 lines analysis

Extracts from this document...


The following forty lines from Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden (1990), take place in scene 1 of Act 3, after Roberto has been tied up by Paulina and threatened with being tortured the same way as she had been, and then shot. In response to Paulina�s threats, Roberto begins confessing the brutality of his actions and his motives. This confession may be true; however, Gerardo has advised Roberto to indulge Paulina, to confess as this would save his life. Whatever the case, the extract is important because it portrays how a man can slide into brutality, without initially meaning to. Second, the extract is important because it helps expose the iniquities of dictatorial military governments. Finally, it is also important because it gives us an idea of Roberto's character and personality. In this extract we clearly see the stages by which a respectable doctor became a brutal sadistic torturer. Though Roberto's brother told him that helping the torturers could be a way to "pay the communists back for what they did to [his] dad," Roberto stresses that he accepted the job for "humanitarian reasons." ...read more.


The tragedy of Roberto�s slide from being a humanitarian to being a torturer is emphasized by the style of his speech, which reveals that he is an intelligent, educated, insightful man. Firstly we see how Roberto's diction indicates his intelligence and level of education. Words such as "brutalization" and "morbid," and phrases such as "he lost his capacity for speech," "humanitarian reasons" and "install a totalitarian dictatorship" clearly manifest his ability to speak articulately and in a high register. We also see how analytically capable Roberto is, as he does not just describe his own actions but explains why they occurred, carefully dissecting his his motives for working with the torturers, not to "pay the communists back" but "for humanitarian reasons." He can organize his account in clear, logical stages, with phrases like "It was slowly, almost without realizing how," "At first," "But afterwards," "By the time," "I began to," and "It became." Additionally, even in the circumstances in which he is giving this confession, in fear of his life, Roberto uses figurative language, suggesting that he has good rhetorical abilities. ...read more.


Finally, the fact that, throughout his speech, Roberto refers to the government only as "they" evokes the way in which such governments work in the shadows, secretly and anonymously, to torture and terrorize. Thus this extract does not only show how Roberto and men like him deteriorate when they become involved in torture; it also shows how dictatorial regimes can manipulate such men, facilitating and enabling this deterioration to occur. In conclusion, this extract is very important as, whether Roberto�s confession is true or feigned, it reveals how even the best of men may slide into such brutality and how military governments can create vile monsters out of exemplary human beings. Through the details of Roberto�s confession, Dorfman is inviting his audience to consider how a man becomes sub-human. If a respectable doctor, a benefactor to the community, could turn into such a monster because of the effects of such a regime, then what would happen to the rest of society? Dorfman tries to make the reader consider that this incident that has turned Roberto's life into a monster might happen to anybody in our society; especially in a switch of regime. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages 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 International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. Analysis of 40 line estract of A Sea Change by Ernest Hemingway

    Thus we see that the man only wants his own way, and he would not let the girl have her own way; these past quotes hint how in the past it has always been like this, and the man wants it to stay this way.

  2. World Literature Paper on Death and the Maiden and Accidental Death of an Anarchist

    Moreover, in their search for justice, the protagonists build fear in their opponents, just as their oppressors had done previously.

  1. World Lit. - Comparative analysis: Death and The Maiden and Ghosts

    When she first encounters doctor Miranda, Paulina concludes without a doubt in her mind that he is the man who tortured and raped her, by drawing on particular details such as the Schubert quartet, which the play is named after, Miranda's quoting of Nietzsche, his smell, his voice, and the feel of his skin.

  2. Hamlet ACT I Scene I:1

    They are not near my conscience." Pg 111 He thinks that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are very duplicitous and that it was their own fault and I agree from his point of view, most likely thinking that they knew the contents of the letter that they should be killed but if they didn't know it was a cruel decision.

  1. "Perfume" Extract Analysis

    Grenouille then realizes that nothing can stop him now that "the pack of demons was annihilated" and there are no more constraints in the beginning of his new life. Victorious, he stands up gloriously and portrays himself now as a god.

  2. Responding to a Tragedy: Analyzing the Reactions to Death of Clara and Werner

    As Clara begins to reconnect with the real world and the relationships that were once dormant in her own reality, she strengthens her connection to the world by combining elements of her fabricated world into reality, such as her heightened supernatural abilities, like the ability to accurately predict events.

  1. Analysis of President Obama's speech on the death of Osama Bin Laden.

    officials hoped to retrieve from bin Laden's compound because of security concerns over the stealth technology.? In order to conclude the speech the president uses a number of abstract nouns such as ?liberty, equality, professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage? and tries to give importance to his actions.

  2. Ariel Dorfman. discusses the topic of bilingualism in America. The writer agrees with the ...

    The writer does this through a number of ways. As she herself is from a foreign country, an immigrant to America she knows how it feels to learn a second language, she has learnt how to balance two cultures, making sure that she does not forget who she really is

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