Like most of Adolfo Bioy Casares’s characters, Don Isidoro Vidal represents the enigma of the individual faced with the problems of modern society (such as overpopulation). The classic portrait of Don Vidal is destined to become one of the most well-defined character studies of twentieth century fiction. With astute psychological insight, the author reveals the inner conflicts produced by this middle-aged man’s fear of growing old. Interior monologue is frequently used to express Vidal’s complex and frustrated desire for youth and the passion of young love, the “. . . hopelessness of bridging the two generations.” Don Isidoro often remarks that his world appears to be that of a dream in which reality dissipates before the demands of a fanciful society, ready to condemn and exterminate the outcast. These deeply rooted sentiments of persecution lead Don Isidoro to a sadly ironic vision of life: “I’ve been left behind, he thought. And now I’m old, or getting ready to be.”
Similar to other characters that populate Adolfo Bioy Casares’s fiction, Don Vidal represents the pain and suffering of existential isolation, as the individual is caught in the absurd trap of an enigmatic society. The fantastic (although entirely plausible) world of persecution in which Don Vidal and his friends are engaged is set within a realistic framework. The novelist is thus able to attenuate the nonrealistic dimension of the story through specificity of detail and psychological depiction of character.