Use Of Dramatic Devices In Dorfman's "Death And The Maiden"

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What use of dramatic devices does Ariel Dorfman make in his play “Death and the Maiden” and how effective are they? In any play the use of dramatic devices is crucial to create tension draw the audience into the action, and in “Death and the Maiden”, Ariel Dorfman is able to implement them in an especially very skilful way. Not only does he manage to hook the audience in right from the start with a mysterious opening, but throughout the whole play he is able to create and sustain the tension. Even at the end of the play Dorfman uses elements which will inevitably make the audience reflect upon the play and its meaning after it is over. The opening of the play is quite a tense once one. The first stage directions would indicate a peaceful, almost romantic atmosphere – “Sounds of the sea. After midnight…dinner is laid out on a table with two chairs…curtains blowing in the wind…” – however, this is quickly undermined by the “blasting” head lights of the car approaching. The effect of the light here is that it, almost like search lights, completely breaks the serene atmosphere that has already been created, by aggressively exposing Paulina. The lights will be a recurring method of selective exposure, not only of the characters on stage, but also of the audience, for example in the last scene, when “moving sports” select two or three people at a time. Perhaps the element which is the most impactful in this opening is when Paulina takes out the gun and hides behind the curtain. The audience automatically begins to ask questions; what is making her do this? Is she crazy? What has happened before? The audience having the feeling that they have been “thrown” into the middle of a story will make them want to find out what is going on. Subsequently, a sense

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