DATM intro

Death and the Maiden
(La muerte y la
Ariel Dorfman, 1990
Setting, Historical Context:
A nameless country in Latin America
that has only recently returned to democracy
(i.e. Post-Pinochet Chile)
Augusto Pinochet: 1915-2006
The Aftermath of Tyranny
Ariel Dorfman: 1942 –
Born Buenos Aires, 1942
U.S., 1943 – 1954
Chile, 1954 – 1973
U.S., 1973 – 1990
A political refugee during the
Pinochet regime, Dorfman
now divides his time between
the U.S. and Chile. He has
been a professor at Duke
University since 1985.
Dorfmann’s work: varied and prolific
The Last Song of Manuel Sendero (1988): “futuristic exploits of a politically asphyxiated
Blake’s Therapy (2001): “the conditions of reality in contemporary capitalist culture.”
Exorcising Terror: The Incredible Unending Trial of Augusto Pinochet (2002)
Americanos: Los pasos de Murieta (2009): ”narrating California, the incorporation of
part of the Mexican territory to the U.S., from the Latin American perspective.”
Death and the Maiden
• Motif in Renaissance painting
• Originated with the Medieval
Dance of Death, but with an
added erotic subtext
• Dance of Death: an allegory
about the universality of
death, and its unifying power
• Later revived in the Romantic
period (“Christabel”?)
Michael Wolgemut, Germany, 1943: “Dance of Death”
“Death and the Maiden” by Franz Schubert
quartet / lied – “death knell accompanying a song about the terror & comfort of death”
The song details “a woman’s subjection to a death figure in musical form.”
Original German – Der Tod und das Mädchen English: Death and the Maiden
Das Mädchen:
Vorüber! Ach, vorüber!
Geh, wilder Knochenmann!
Ich bin noch jung! Geh, lieber,
Und rühre mich nicht an.
Und rühre mich nicht an.
The Maiden:
Pass me by! Oh, pass me by!
Go, fierce man of bones!
I am still young! Go, rather,
And do not touch me.
And do not touch me.
Der Tod:
Gib deine Hand, du schön und zart Gebild!
Bin Freund, und komme nicht, zu strafen.
Sei gutes Muts! ich bin nicht wild,
Sollst sanft in meinen Armen schlafen!
Give me your hand, you beautiful and
tender form!
I am a friend, and come not to punish.
Be of good cheer! I am not fierce,
Softly shall you sleep in my arms!
The play:
• A drama in three acts, with three characters:
– Paulina Salas: a woman around 40, formerly a political activist
who was taken captive and tortured twenty years earlier during
a hostile military regime
– Gerardo Escobar: her husband, a lawyer who has just been
offered a position on a commission to investigate the crimes of
the previous regime
– Dr. Roberto Miranda: a medical doctor who helps Gerardo
when his car gets a flat tire near his home
• Setting: A remote Chilean beach house, 1990’s

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