In The judge's wife by Isabel Allende, Nicholas Vidal the antagonist and prophesy his fate in the hands of a woman presumably Casilda the protagonist. Both Vidal and Casilda are different people with different interesting life histories but fate brings them together as Casildas husband Judge Huidalgo dies of a heart attack while being pursued by Nicholas. However, in order to protect herself and her children, Casilda uses her feminine sexual charm to disarm Nicholas. However, as fate would have it, Nicholas dies in the hand of Casilda thereby marking the fulfillment of the prophecy.
In the act of revenge, by Isabel Allende., readers are introduced to the life of congressman's daughter Dulce Rosa in Latin America. When the father was killed by guerrilla band of men under the leadership of Tadeo Cespedes, and the daughter raped, Dulce Rosa swears to take revenge on the guerrilla and their leader. Therefore, after some thirty years, Tadeo marries Dulce Rosa unknowingly but before their much-publicised wedding, Dulce commits suicide to deny Tadeo happiness. In the two stores, the theme of femininity is quite clear as both female struggles hard to rise to the occasion and gain control of men in patriarchal society where men dominate women's mind, body and spirit and traditional laws dictates the rules of engagement.
In both plays, Mujica, (1995, pp. 36-43) enthuses that the women are the protagonist and the men are the antagonists. Both women struggle hard to overcome the problems in which they find themselves. Both Casilda and Rosa live in a patriarchal society presumably Latin America where everyone upholds male dominance. However, the difference between the two is that while Casilda strives to overpower Nicholas Vidal to save her children, Dulce Rosa marries Tadeo to exact revenge. This makes both of them women of strong will, and feminists. However, Roof, (1996, pp. 401-16) argues that Dulce Rosa is vengeful while Casilda loves, caring, and protective. For example, Casilda fed Nicholass mother while she was left in the centre of the two and she kept going to the town to nourish Juana la Triste for three days. On the other hand, dulcet Rosa was patient enough to wait for 30 years to exact her revenge by marrying her fathers killers.
The readers are also introduced to the stereotypical ideal male in patriarchal communities. Men are portrayed as misogynists as they take advantage of the women to their own downfall. Their strength becomes their weakness as they become easy prays to the same female they hunted. In the story, the readers will see the stereotypical ideal for both male and female weakness as the masculine sexual paradigm becomes the men's own undoing. While Casilda is pushed into an arranged marriage to the judge and meet all the stereotypical expectations of all women in Latin America of being a homemaker. She is also a good woman who sees the only function is to bear children and go to church, Dulce is portrayed the same way as she is educated to be married and become a home maker.
The theme of feminism is central in both stories. Casilda seems to be the pioneer feminist in a male-dominated society. For example, she openly advocates for women's rights as she seeks social, economic and political equality to men in the society where she openly defies her husband to whom she had been loyal to and goes to feed Juana la Triste in the city centers. Casilda therefore seriously deliberates, however; her fellow woman is mistreated and takes an active negative stand against her husband's order.
On the other hand, Dulces moral conviction to avenge her father's death drove her to fight for other women knowing that even if she will not be there to enjoy the fruits of her struggle and sacrifice, her haunt would develop a soft spot for other women. When she commits suicide, her husband, Tadeo undergoes a change of heart and begins to respect women. In the two stores, both their husbands learned a lot from the women's struggle. As Casilda's husband, judge Huidalgo allows her to go feed Juana in the cage.
In conclusion, the two stories may not have a similar plot but their main characters had similar character traits, as both are feminists who struggle for women's suffrage. Both Casilda and Dulce Rosa use sexual fancy to capture a keep their targets occupied and then disarm them. The theme of vengeance is common to both stories as women cost both Nicholas and Tadeo their lives. The setting is also similar in both stories as both stores are set in a patriarchal, Latin America society.
Roof, M. (1996): "W.E.B. DuBois, Isabel Allende, and the Empowerment of third World Women." CLA Journal 39.4 401-16.Mujica, B, (1995). "Isabel Allende: The Life Force of Language." Americas. Nov./Dec: 36-43.
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