Isabel Allende

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How does Dulce Rosa's character change in "An Act of Vengeance"?

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In the short story "An Act of Vengeance" by Isabelle Allende, the character of Dulce Rosa swears to her father to avenge his death after their house is attacked. However, after 30 years she goes through the profound change of falling in love with their attacker. She resorts to suicide as a way of resolving this dilemma.

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In the short story "An Act of Vengeance" by Isabel Allende , a young senator's daughter named Dulce Rosa Orellano claims the title of Carnival Queen, although many people believe that she wins because her father is such a powerful man. Soon afterwards, the opposing party wins the presidential election,...

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and a revolutionary named Tadeo Cespedes and his men attack Senator Orellano's home. The senator and his servants attempt to defend the house, but they are vastly outnumbered.

When the senator is the last one alive and badly wounded, his plan is to kill his daughter so the revolutionaries won't get her, but she begs him to let her live so she can seek vengeance on the man who has done this to them. Cespedes arrives, brutally murders the senator, and rapes Dulce Rosa.

Thirty years pass. Dulce Rosa oversees the farm and household, but she never marries because her thoughts are always of revenge. Cespedes becomes a prosperous politician, but he is consumed with guilt over what he did to the senator's daughter. Each cannot get the other out of their minds.

Cespedes finally decides to go to Dulce Rosa and beg forgiveness. However, when they meet they realize their obsession with each other has caused them to fall in love. Just before their wedding, however, Dulce Rosa realizes that she can "no longer continue to deceive her own heart":

She knew that she could not carry out the vengeance she had planned because she loved the killer, but she was also unable to quiet the Senator's ghost.

To resolve this dilemma, Dulce Rosa uses a seamstress's scissors to commit suicide. Cespedes then has to pay for his guilt by remembering the love he had for her. The ultimate act of vengeance is Dulce Rosa's suicide, which will continue to torment Cespedes even more than his own death would have.

We see, then, that the profound change that Dulce Rosa undergoes in the story has to do with the renunciation of her hatred for Cespedes and her awareness of her love for him. Because of her promise to her father, she is unable to follow through with this love and marry Cespedes. When you characterize the change that Dulce Rosa goes through, one paragraph can focus on the background of Cespedes's horrible atrocity and the promise that Dulce Rosa makes to her father, and the other paragraph can describe the changes she goes through as she realizes that she loves Cespedes but cannot marry him.

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