How is the theme of justice portrayed in death and the maiden?

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mlsldy3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the play Death and the Maiden, the theme of justice is portrayed in a way that leaves the reader asking what is the truth? At the beginning of the play, Paulina Salas is being held as a prisoner of war. She is raped repeatedly by a sadistic doctor, whose face she never saw. Paulina is released and years later marries a man named Gerardo. In a twist of fate, Gerardo is heading home and gets a flat tire. A man named Dr. Miranda offers to give him a ride home. Once the two men arrive at the house, Paulina hears Dr. Miranda's voice and notices his actions. Paulina is convinced that this is the doctor who had raped her years ago. Paulina decides to put him on "trial", with Gerardo acting as Dr. Miranda's lawyer. Gerardo is convinced the man is not the same man that had raped Paulina. Throughout the story themes of justice come into play. Author Ariel Dorfman makes the reader ask some really tough questions. What would you do if this had happened to you? Do we as humans have the right to act as judge and jury? Ariel Dorfman also makes you question the justice, or lack of justice of Paulina's rape. Does Paulina have the right to accuse and put Dr. Miranda on trial, solely based on his voice or actions? Would you? These are the themes of justice that run throughout the story. The real justice is never known. It is left up to the reader to determine what the real justice should be.