Death and the Maiden Characters

  • Paulina Escobar, who was kidnapped, tortured, and raped while in medical school. Years later, she identifies her captor and puts him on trial in her home.
  • Doctor Roberto Miranda, Paulina's kidnapper, who confesses to playing Schubert's quartet Death and the Maiden in hopes of comforting his victims.
  • Gerardo Escobar, Paulina's husband, a lawyer who has just been appointed to a commission charged with investigating murders carried out by the previous dictator's regime. 

Characters

Gerardo Escobar
Paulina's husband, he is a lawyer about forty-five years of age. Gerardo has recently been appointed by the president to a commission that will examine human rights abuses during the military dictatorship. Gerardo has a high ideal of justice which he invokes in an attempt to persuade his wife to release Miranda. Paulina is ethically motivated, too, but she stresses repeatedly that corruption in the country's legal system leaves considerable doubt that the military's abuses will be properly rectified. Gerardo maintains his faith in the government's ability to do the best it can do under the circumstances, while Paulina feels pushed to take matters into her own hands. Undoubtedly, her more personal resolve is the product of her abduction and torment, which Gerardo seems to find almost unfathomable on a personal level, despite the nature of his work.

Gerardo has always had great difficulty discussing Paulina's experience, a guilt that is compounded by the fact that when Paulina went to him following her release, she discovered that he had been having an affair in her absence. Gerardo's suggestion that Paulina make a tape recording may be a way of addressing his problem, putting words to something he has not wanted to face.

Doctor Roberto Miranda
A doctor, around fifty years old. Roberto—Doctor Miranda—remains indignant at Paulina's accusations. He repeatedly reminds Gerardo of his place on the human rights commission and that it is his duty in that capacity to command his wife to release Miranda. The doctor denies having had any role in torturing military abductees and offers a confession that he claims to have fabricated in the hopes that Paulina will release him unharmed Miranda, however, corrects details in the narrative of Paulina's experience which she recorded for Gerardo; this...

(The entire section is 756 words.)