Juan Pablo Castel
Juan Pablo Castel (hwahn PAHB-loh kahs-TEHL), the narrator, a well-known and critically admired painter. Castel is a shy, thirty-eight-year-old, self-absorbed bachelor who has never established a satisfactory relationship with a woman. He sees María Iribarne in a gallery, seemingly transfixed by one of his paintings. He becomes obsessed with her, meets her again, and becomes her lover. As one reads Castel’s narration of these events, one finds oneself in the mind of a madman. Castel is an ultrarational yet warped person who shifts rapidly from some objective sense of himself and some ability to feel compassion to a paranoid personality full of anger and suspicion. Finally convinced that María is having an affair with Luis Hunter, he breaks into her room and stabs her to death. He is narrating these events in a mental hospital.
María Iribarne (mah-REE-ah ee-ree-BAHR-neh), a beautiful, young, wealthy woman. She appears physically to be twenty-six years old, Castel says, but seems older to him in terms of her self-possession and personality. The reader only knows her as an enigmatic figure, described entirely by Castel. Castel, from his alienated isolation, decides that he never really knew her, but that they were moving in separate tunnels along parallel lines. In...
(The entire section is 504 words.)