Death & The Maiden followed the story of a woman named Paulina who after escaping from being a political prisoner, believes that her husband has picked up the doctor who played a role in her being subjected to torture and torment within her imprisonment. Paulina then decides to take “justice” into her own hands by holding her own form of a trial for her captor, named Roberto. Her husband Gerardo disapproved of her tactics from the very beginning and attempted to convince his wife to release the man who he doesn’t believe was her actual captor.
One major theme that I observed while reading this story was the unwillingness of Paulina’s husband, to simply believe his wife. From the beginning, when Paulina says to Gerardo that Roberto is the Doctor from her time spent being a political prisoner, he immediately dismisses her case by saying that “You’re Sick.” Knowing that Paulina suffered from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder and is not fully at terms with it, I found that very abusive in nature. As a married couple, I feel that it is very detrimental to the relationship to be so dismissive of your partners feelings, especially after going through a traumatic experience like the one that Paulina experienced.
As an individual within the judicial system and a member of the justice commission, one would assume that Gerardo would have the skills to be able to separate his emotions and be impartial enough to listen to Paulina, instead of instantly dismissing Paulina’s point of view. But when it came to Gerardo, he had the decency to treat him with respect, and listened to his point of view. “I’d rather speak to you as if you were a client, Doctor Miranda. That will help me out.” Gerardo said. But would not have those same intentions with his wife. Gerardo’s actions very accurately depicted the concept of toxic masculinity. It is this concept that is harmful to women in more ways than one, and in the case of Paulina could have been very detrimental.