Teacher Guide

Death and the Maiden Lesson Plan

Introduction to Death and the Maiden

Widely considered to be Ariel Dorfman's most influential play, Death and the Maiden explores the challenges of restoring democracy and stability to a country recovering from an oppressive military dictatorship. Even though the play never specifically names Chile as its setting, Dorfman's inspiration for Death and the Maiden came from his experiences as an exile from his native land after General Augusto Pinochet's military coup and his subsequent return to Chile after Pinochet's defeat.

Dorfman began meditating on the idea of Death and the Maiden in the early 1980s when he was in exile and Pinochet was still the dictator of Chile. He wanted to create a dramatic situation in which a trio...

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