The recently deceased Mario Benedetti He left us among his many titles a small work entitled "Peter and the Captain", which belongs to the theatrical genre although, as the author himself acknowledged, he was not born with the idea of being represented.
In her a torturer and a tortured They have a face-to-face meeting that lasts for several sessions in which the torturer has the mission of making the tortured speak and the latter to keep quiet so as not to betray his companions. An ideological distance separates both characters and despite the fact that the Captain apparently has the upper hand, the tables turn throughout the story.
And is that Pedro, the tortured, understands (or makes himself understand) that in reality he is already dead, that none of this is real, that it is not happening, that he has nothing to lose and that pain is a state of mind that the dead they do not suffer so that somehow he becomes immune to the string of savagery that the torturer commits with him.
Also, as if that were not enough ... he decides to torture his torturer by rubbing his resistance and playing with him to touch buttons psychological that nobody had ever touched ...
Personally, it is one of my favorite books and I think it would be a success if it were one of the compulsory reading works in high schools ... much to learn In the lines of the great Mario, may he rest in peace, to whom I greatly thank each and every one of the words that he has left us as a legacy in his extensive and brilliant work.
Table of Contents
Summary of Peter and the Captain
The work of Pedro and the captain can be divided into four well-differentiated parts, in which the events increase in intensity with the aim that there is a crescendo in the work. That is, it seeks that the reader will see the evolution of the situation and how it gets more and more dangerous, interesting. In this way, Mario Benedetti traps the reader in the game he wants to play.
The parts of Peter and the captain are:
In this first part you will meet a protagonist, Pedro who is taken to an interrogation room. There you find him hooded and tied up so that he cannot escape or see anything until another man enters the room, the so-called Captain.
The mission of this is to interrogate him and get the information he needs. He informs Pedro that what has happened to him, the lesson he has received, has only been something light and soft compared to what can await him if he does not collaborate, having increasingly more intense torture and punishment. Something that no one is able to bear.
Also, it warns you that everyone talks one way or another.
The Captain tries to get him to cooperate for good, exposing everything that can happen to him if he doesn't, as well as making him understand that he is a person who gets everything he wants. And that he admires Pedro's side, as he knows they admire them. It is a form of earn the trust of the other.
However, he also threatens him, not only because of him, but also because of his wife. In exchange for not enduring pain or endangering what he loves most, as well as going out without his companions knowing that he has collaborated, he has to reveal four names.
But nothing he says, either in a friendly or threatening way, serves the captain, since Pedro is mute and does not respond to any of the insinuations.
Second part of Peter and the Captain
The second part of the play presents Pedro again, with more beatings and torture received. There is the captain, who tries to get along with the prisoner and to answer what he needs to know. Thus, he removes the hood, something that, in the first part, is always present.
It is at that moment when Pedro speaks, where he tells him that he had not done it before because it seemed to him that it was something unworthy to answer with the hood. However, far from being intimidated, it is now Pedro who asks the Captain questions about his family, which he takes as a threat. Seeing the reaction, Pedro asks again how it feels to return home after killing other men. That makes him lose his temper and end up hitting him, even though, with Pedro, he wanted to pretend to be "one of the good guys."
After a few minutes to calm down, the Captain empathizes with Pedro, acknowledging that he feels bad after what he does, and hoping that the victim who confronts him ends up giving up before the torture and punishment become sadistic, a clear reference asking Pedro to give up his resistance.
After a silence, Pedro's answer ends this part.
It introduces you to a disheveled Captain, his clothes wrinkled, his tie unbuttoned. Ask over the phone to bring Pedro back, who appears more emaciated and with blood stains on his clothes.
Believing him to be dead, the Captain walks up to him and places him on the chair. It is at that moment when Pedro bursts out laughing, remembering that that night, while he was being tortured on the prod, the power went out and they couldn't finish him.
In an attempt to bring him back to reality, the Captain calls Pedro by his name, to which he responds that he is not, but that his name is Romulus (it is his alias). And he is also dead. You can see the attempt by the victim to try to escape from that situation, of thinking that he is already dead and that all the pain he feels is only in his imagination, but that it is not real.
After an argument with the Captain, where death and madness generate a tirade between them, the Captain despairs and considers that he will not get anything out of him.
That's when the roles change. Pedro begins to talk to the Captain, while that one begins to speak to him with greater respect. The Captain opens up to him, talks about his wife, how he ended up working as a torturer and how it has affected his life.
But it is Pedro who reiterates that he is dead and that he cannot tell him anything.
Fourth and last part of Peter and the Captain
A beaten and practically dying Pedro appears on the ground. And a sweaty Captain, without a tie, jacket and very nervous.
He witnesses a conversation from Pedro who, delirious, thinks he is talking to Aurora, even though he is alone. Is at that moment when the Captain understands all the harm he does by torturing people and he asks for a name, any name, to try to save him, but at the same time save himself. However, Pedro refuses to do so, and both are sentenced to their respective roles.
The characters of Peter and the captain
The play only consists of two characters: Pedro and the Captain. It is about two antagonistic figures that maintain the tension throughout the entire story, but also they change their way of thinking, they are unraveling little by little.
On the one hand, you have Pedro, a prisoner who seems to accept his punishment without asking for mercy or begging for his life. He believes in his ideals and is willing to defend them even with his life. Therefore, at a given moment he considers that he is already dead, and that everything that happens to him is the result only of his mind.
On the other hand, there is the Captain, one of the characters that evolves the most throughout the play. It begins as a person of authority who seeks to interact with the other person by exposing everything that will happen to him if he does not collaborate, but at the same time trying to "befriend" him to do so.
However, as the story evolves, the character does too, recognizing that he does not like his work, recounting parts of his life that humanize him in the face of the torture he is inflicting on the other. Thus he seeks a justification for what he does. The problem is that Pedro does not accept it, he still does not empathize with him, which annoys the Captain because, even confessing, he still does not make the other do what he really wants, to confess.
In this way, an evolution of the characters is seen. On the one hand, that of Pedro, who is abandoning himself to madness and death knowing that he is not going to get out of there and at least he will not say anything. On the other, that of the Captain, who in the work remains without knowing what will become of his destiny.
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