A New Way to View Yourself – Death and the Maiden

Act III Scene 1 of Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman contains a very interesting symbol towards the end of the scene which involves a set of stage directions involving a large mirror which is facing the audience as a whole. A giant mirror drops down on to the stage and makes the audience look at themselves and the crowd of people around them as well. This prop is a very momentous staple to the story, and a unique way to have the audience reflect on the acts they have just seen. It is extremely unexpected that the audience would be forced to look at themselves in this way, because usually the audience just reacts to themselves and don’t truly notice or think much into their own reactions. this surprise which engages thought, and changes audience perceptions. When the audience stares into the mirror, this is a way to not only see their own reactions regarding what they have just witnessed, but also the reactions of others around them. In class it was mentioned that we can all have a different “side” we take in this play, and it is very much possible to become uncertain if that is the right side to take at certain points in the piece. When the mirror drops down, it is easy to see all the different opinions and “sides” going on within the audience and within the individual themselves. This shows that everyone in the audience plays a part in how the play is perceived, which further connects to the big picture of how the population as a whole all have a say in how the “norms” of society and the world around us is perceived.

One thought on “A New Way to View Yourself – Death and the Maiden”

  1. I like your proposal that the mirror asks us to reflect on ourselves as “readers” of this play at the end. I wonder what you make of the fact that Paulina, Gerardo, and Roberto are also sitting in an audience of their own at this point in the play?

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