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Death and the Maiden - Is Gerardo a Good Husband?

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Introduction

Death and the Maiden - Character Analysis: Gerardo Escobar Is Gerardo a Good Husband? The character of Gerardo Escobar plays a very significant role in Ariel Dorfman's play "Death and the Maiden", as he alone stands as the representative of irresoluteness and indecisiveness within the play's theme of impunity. His wife Paulina, having been physically abused and raped many years ago, is now convinced that a recent visitor by the name of Roberto Miranda is the culprit behind her scarring episode. The remainder of the play is spent with these same three characters engaged in a seemingly futile debate over the Doctor's fate. Gerardo Escobar's quavering opinion throughout all of this raises the question of whether he is in effect a good husband. In order to answer this question, we must first analyze the character's personality as a whole. The character of Gerardo is a character that, overall, has a very moralistic outlook on the situation at hand. He strongly believes that his newly found justice commission will right the wrongs of the previous dictatorship; subsequently, he himself feels the need to play the role of a mediator, and feels compelled to convince Paulina to avoid the temptation of immediate retribution: "Yes. ...read more.

Middle

Miranda - a person he had met merely a day ago - than believe his wife, to whom he had been married for many years. When talking to Dr. Miranda about a plan to free him from captivity, Gerardo discredits his wife: "No she isn't [part of the commission], who gives a fuck what she thinks" p. 34. He even goes so far as to try to deceive his wife by suggesting to Roberto that he make up a story which coincides with Paulina's claims just to appease to her demands: "Humor her, placate her, so he feels that we - that you, are willing to cooperate...Indulge her, make her believe that you [have confessed]" p. 31. Gerardo's correction of his referral to Roberto as "we" only strengthens this idea that he clearly does not believe in his wife's judgments. Ultimately however, Gerardo's greatest display of his weakness is in his lack of ability to be decisive. Essentially, by believing Paulina, it would mean that Gerardo would actually have to take action in the affair. Gerardo could be described as a cunctator, as he attempts to rationalize his wife's strong convictions so that it has as little to do with his personal life, and his public facade as possible. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another instance of Gerardo's condescending tone towards Paulina is when he discovers that Roberto is being held as a hostage. Paulina attempts to explain the reasons why she believes that this man is guilty, however Gerardo simply dismisses her clarifications by replying: "You're sick" p. 16. Moments later, when requesting that Paulina surrender her gun to him, Gerardo speaks down to her as though speaking to a child: "...give me that gun...While you point it at me, there is no possible dialogue" p. 16. Soon after, Paulina comments on her husband's over-controlling and patronizing treatment of her: "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'" p. 17. This depicts that, even outside of this peculiar episode, Gerardo is still quite overbearing as a husband, and that despite Paulina's scarring experience being many years ago, Gerardo still treats her as if she cannot treat herself. Overall, it is disputable whether or not the character of Gerardo is a respectable husband, as we the audience never truly witness the relationship between the couple outside of these bizarre circumstances. Nonetheless, we do ascertain from these events that Gerardo does not truly hold much faith or confidence in his wife, which illustrates that their matrimony cannot claim much merit to itself. ...read more.

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