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Milieu, Form and Signification in Wilfrido Ma.

Guerreros
The Three Rats

A research paper presented


To the faculty of the
College of Arts and Sciences
Cebu Normal University

In partial fulfillment of the


Academic requirements of the course
LITCOM 6007: Studies in Southeast Asian Literary Relations

By:
Lorlaine R. Dacanay
D.A. Literature and Communication Student

To:
Dr. Angel O. Pesirla
Professor

March 2, 2013

CHAPTER 1
Introduction and Methodology: Curtains Up
Rationale
The main reason why the researcher tries to delve deeper on triadic affair is its timeliness.
Media

nowadays

has

been

feeding

its

audience

with

third

party

relationship

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/asecretaffair) as cinematic theme in the mainstream Filipino


movies. However, women are portrayed to be always on the lookout for their husbands. Just like
the common adage that goes, it takes two to tangle. When a man has erred, the chances of
forgiving him are quite big; however, women have suffered the scornful judgment of the people
in the society.
Another reason is to gather insights on how can friends betray a friend when it comes to
women. In one way or another, the traditional connotation of women being the source of conflict
as she launched a thousand ships in the Trojan shore; opened the box filled with misfortunes; ate
the apple and violated Gods commandments. These are only just a few of the manifested roles
women play. One way or another, even these traditions could have been implanted or
unconsciously included to get across a conflict involving women in the erring side.
Aside from that, the literary critic might take it too seriously when the playwright could
have just been reflecting what he had seen in society five decades back. The play has included a
news item containing the same marital conflict; with more or less the same quality of a husband
exacting revenge. Thus, the investigation of the play by exploring the milieu when the play was
written; the dominant element that encapsulated the whole play; and the formalistic elements in
order to go to the structure of the play. In order to provide evidences of the contentions of the
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researcher that Wilfrido Ma Guerrero was not only referring to feminine subjugation but on the
conflict that has started even in the childhood of Gonzalo and Adrian. The image of Nita cuts
across the long-standing friendship between two friends. Domestic violence is there in front of
Nitas eyes; but social norms in that milieu could have just let this violence slip through since
Nita is also fallible within the confines of marriage.
Theoretical Setting
The elements of content structure such as milieu, dominant form and signification of the
play The Three Rats enhance the literary scholars perspective of the developmental evolution of
Philippine drama.
The assumption is further supported by three other literary theories namely: Historical
criticism, Objective Critical theory and Mimetic theory. The milieu category has to be viewed in
the light of the historical period when the play was written. The dominant element of the play is
conflict and the researcher has decided to analyze it using the mimetic theory. Signification is
scrutinized by using objective critical theory in order to get into the forma of the play and how
each element cohere with the other elements making the play a holistic one.
First is the historical criticism. In the eyes of the historical critic, literature is a recreation
of the past. For Hippolyte Taine quoted in Pesirla (5) to recover from the monuments of
literature, knowledge of the manner in which men thought and felt centuries ago. Moreover, the
critic regards the most essential characteristics in the analysis and that is its unique quality of
pastness (Handy and Westbrook, 304).

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There are seven immediate concerns of the historical critic. First is the scholarly attempt
to recreate the conditions under which the author worked. Second, the characteristic
philosophical thought that he/she sees as a determining force for the literary work produced in

dominant form and signification of the play The Three Rats enhance the literary scholars perspective o

Historical Criticism
Mimetic Theory
Objective Theory

Figure 1: Theoretical Framework

that age. Third is the literary sources and influence of the work. Fourth is the text. Fifth is the
dating of a work. Sixth is the intellectual conviction of the author. Lastly is the biography of the
author.
Taine further purports the characteristic of the historical method of criticism. Genuine
criticism is brought into existence only when the historian begins to unravel, across the lapse of
time, the living man, toiling, impassioned, entrenched in his customs, with his voice and features,
his gestures and his dress, distinct and complete as he from whom we have just parted from the
street. Simply put, Lionel Trilling (qtd. in Handy and Westbrook 305) adds But it is only if we
are aware of the reality of the past that we can feel it as alive and present. The analysis must go
back to history and thus, Keesey (452) calls it a return to history.
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Jauss (qtd, in Adams and Searle 164) declares literary scholarship as a challenge to
literary theory. However, he further states that the gap between literature and history can be
bridged if literary history does not simply describe the process of general history in the reflection
of its works; but rather when it discovers in the course of literary evolution.
Greenblatt (qtd in Keesey 477) prefers to call his literary criticism Cultural poetics
because in a liberal education broadly conceived, it is literary study that is the servant of
cultural education. However, Eagleton (qtd. in Keesey 460) asserts that critical explanation
should mean grasping literary forms, styles and meaning as products of a particular history.
The validity of the critics analyses is measured if he could stress literatures ties to those
circumstances. Thus, the analysis of the milieu when Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero wrote the play is of
value to enrich the researchers quest on the siginification of the play.
Secondly, the dominant form is juxtaposed against the mimetic theory. The term mimetic
is coming from the word to mime or merely to copy. It is a classical literary theory, which
states that literature copies reality. Platonic definition in his The Republic has already made a
strong foundation to support ones claim that the play as a literary genre copies the reality.
Aristotle on the other hand has stressed that literature tries to perfect an imperfect reality. His
Poetics enumerates the tenets of symbols and signs used in literature that are associated to the
realities they copy.
In the play, the use of a news item is a significant reinforcement of making the viewers to
believe that the decision of the Gonzalo in the play has had an implication of what happened in
his society. More or less, he could be condemned for having not tamed his emotions when he

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knew his wife has been sleeping with his friend. The realistic depiction of the conflict is
dominant in the play.
The third theory is the objective critical theory. Adams (qtd. in Pesirla 3) declares that the
theory considers any literary work as an object with internal purpose. A literary text is an object
focusing on form at the expense of content or art for arts sake or ideas of pure beauty.
However, there are other literary critical theorists who are interested in poetic content at
the expense of form have assumed a correspondence theory of truth, whereas literary critical
theorists who have developed objective critical principles have assumes a coherence theory.
Correspondence theory states that in objective criticism, the content must dictate form;
statements are referred directly to some outer existent reality for versification. Thus, formal
considerations only minimally affect meaning. On the other hand, coherence theory states that
the form should dictate the content. Statements are built and tested by their ability to exist in a
system with other statements. Formal structure governs meaning and provides an analogy to the
theory of the poem as an organic unity, assuming that the relation of symbols to reality is more
indirect than usually assumed (Pesirla, 4).
Thus, formalism as another term applied for objective theory, holds that a literary text
itself is make up of formalistic elements that determine, in a unified fashion, the meaning or
contents of the text and that literature follows varied forms (genres) for its own specific purpose
in conveying meaning. Hence, the play is a story in a dialogue that is intended to be performed
by actors on stage, either in prose or in verse. Guerreros The Three Rats therefore could be
analyzed using the formalistic elements; and how these elements come into terms with the other
elements of the play.
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Problem Statement
This paper investigates Wilfrido Ma. Guerreros The Three Rats in the perspective of the
developmental evolution of Philippine drama.
Specifically, it processes the following elements of content structure:
1. Milieu;
2. Dominant form; and
3. Signification.
Significance of the Study
The study is significant to any literary scholar who is interested with revenge between
and among friends. In the formalistic sense, the critical analysis provided for the play could be a
pattern for analyzing some other plays to understand Filipino culture as the playwright enriches
the roster of plays describing Filipino values and setting.
In its global implication, the play suggests the relatedness of Filipino culture with those
of its neighboring countries and ultimately to its American colonizers.
Methodology
The study uses Discourse analysis of the verbal data. By looking into the play, the critic
studies each sub problems. Discourse analysis is commonly used for studies involving literature
so as to give significance of the lines, words and utterances of the characters involved in the play.
The literary artist may invariably include the voice of the people in his time; and his convictions
of what is supposed to be an acceptable norm in his society.
Phase 1: Setting the Milieu
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The researcher looks into the milieu of Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero. By drawing the timeline
of the literary implications to the political trend in the country, it can be noted that the play has
indeed reflected the tides of the times. Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero was writing about Filipinos, their
attributes and their realistic dilemmas and or aspirations. He was writing in the Republican era
that showed extreme Filipinism and the idealistic theme on rebelling against foreign oppression
has been replaced with realistic themes on social issues.
Phase 2: Identifying Dominant Form
In this phase, all elements to be used in the formalistic analysis are identified. However,
among these elements, the researcher decided on the dominant element the play has in order to
relate it to the real world. Among the elements conflict is the most dominant in The Three Rats.
Exacting revenge on the disloyal friend and unfaithful wife could only be satiated once one
brings destruction to them. This theme is very clear to suggest that without maximizing on the
conflict, the message could be appreciated less.
Phase 3: Identifying the Signification
Formalistic analysis compels the researcher to identify the elements of making the
literary piece a play. Each of these elements is processed to give signification to the authors
intent of making the play reflect the social issues. Hence the discussion of the elements provides
the avenue for the formalistic approach at analyzing literature drama for this matter of
investigation.

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CHAPTER 2
Results and Discussion: Theatricality in Milieu, Form and Signification
A. MILIEU
The development of Philippine drama appears to coincide with the political development
of the country. Not surprising that the American imitation era (1898-1940), Republican era
(1946-1972), Martial Law era (1972-1986) and new Philippine era (1986 today) as periods of
Philippine drama developmental milieus have their political connotations. Nonetheless, they
label a particular trend of drama flourishing on that specific period which was in one way or
another affected by the political agenda of the government.
Born in January 1917, Wilfrido Ma Guerrero is a product of the Republican era. His plays
had been on stage since 1947 which obviously depicts Philippinism and the ideals of
nationalism. Through his realistic plays, he has given himself a name being a renowned Filipino
playwright, director teacher and theater artist. Guerreros craftsmanship is admired through its
subtlety in showing social satires. He is observed to be attacking the flaws of the middle and
upper class; but despite their flaws, he let them appear normal. Guerrero is the kind of playwright
who comments on the behavior and attitudes of the people in the society, but candid in exposing
these observations. This style has marked Guerreros craft and mostly received positive reviews
from critics. In fact, his plays were presented on the international stage.
One of his plays that made Guerreros name chiseled on the Philippine Drama hall of
fame is The Three Rats. It appeared in the 1960son the Philippine stage; but was showed in
the University of Kansas in 1962. The play has been acclaimed as a social play criticizing the
pretenses of the middle class Filipinos. It shows that deceit in marriage is naturally destructive.
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Not only does deceit destroy the erred party but to the erring party as well. The play is a
stereotype of marital situations which involves unfaithfulness.
Realism in the Three Rats
Revenge is the wage of deceit depicting a Filipino national identity through realism.
There are different kinds of revenge revenge to get even, revenge for anger, revenge to hurt and
sometimes it is done to an individual, to a group of people and to a race (Mallinova-Anthony,
2012). Realistic characters in drama and fiction plot to revenge when they feel there is something
to fight for. When someone has wronged them, they would succumb to the idea of inflicting pain
to others to feel relieved from anger and hurt.
Your feelings are a matter of indifference' to me. Soon you're going
to witness a crime. You're going to see your beloved-and my
beloved friend-Adrian-die the death of a rat
In a marital conflict when deceit is involved, the party that has been erred would be
hypocrites not to feel angst upon the party who has caused him pain. Deceit leads to doubt; and
doubt clouds the minds which ultimately hinder understanding. When there is misunderstanding,
it is unlikely to let the spouse go without getting the prize of being unfaithful. The lines of
Gonzalo have given the viewers and idea on Gonzalos burden of plotting a crime against his
wife, Nita; and his best friend Adrian.
Realism in the expression of emotion
Gonzalo is giving justice to a realistic husband in the real world. It is quite impressive
how he managed to keep his emotions in the beginning of the play while he already had a
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suspicion that his wife had been sleeping with his best friend while he was away. Again, realism
is depicted in Gonzalos actuations. He resembles Filipino husbands who are preempted with the
masculine role of a man in a patriarchal society. It is quite unlikely to have a man falling in the
traps of a woman. He must correct whatever goes awry in the system to the extent of committing
a crime to avenge his emotion.
Realism in the act of deception
Rene Girards theory of Mimetic desire can be associated why Gonzalo and Adrian are
realistic in their competition for the affection of Nita. The theory implies that since Gonzalo and
Adrian are best friends, they are similar in more ways and they also like the same things. The
conflict started when the two men were in grade school. Adrians tendency of borrowing things
from Gonzalo started when they were young. Adrian borrowed the shirt of Gonzalo, failed to
return it, and assumed that was his. The same set thrives when they get older. Adrian, in his
addiction to gambling, is borrowing money from Gonzalo. This does not only end there, but he
tries to borrow also Gonzalos wife.
Guerreros depiction of deception is likely to happen when the parties involve share a
common emotional attachment. They are best friends and that makes it even harder for Gonzalo
to accept. To whom should he put his blame? To his best friend who deceived him by taking his
wife? or, to his wife for taking his best friend? It is quite realistic that a main character is in a
dilemma and acting in a way to exact revenge causes destruction to the parties involved.

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B. FORMALISTIC ELEMENTS
Socrates said, "The life which is unexamined is not worth living." Analyzing the play of
Wifrido Ma Guerrero entitled The Three Rats would allow us to examine the lives of Nita,
Gonzalo and Adrian. In a formalistic analysis, the themes, plot and characterization are taken
into consideration and these elements in the Guerreros play are explored in this paper.
Theme
Although the theme might be the focus of some other literary approaches, in the
formalistic analysis, it can also be tackled. The Three Rats has given us the idea that justice can
be served, but it could best be served if given to the erring party by the rightful authority. The
evils of putting justice in our hands are jammed pack in the ending of the play. This actuation has
caused Gonzalo to face the consequence. He might end up committing suicide and homicide in
his household to witness death and crime before his eyes.
The play also tells about the inability of a married couple to settle their differences. As a
central theme of the play, deception can never come into play if there is an open communication
between the couple. The intrusion of Adrian who happened to be Gonzalos childhood friend is
never Nitas or Adrians doing only; but also Gonzalos. He knew and suspected that something
is up between his wife and his friend. However, he just made his absence long enough for Adrian
and Nita to do what they are doing. He caught them not on the act but in the verbal battle as he
tries to explore their reasons. Gonzalos belief is justified when he tried to interpolate questions
to Nita and Adrian.

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Plot
The interaction between Gonzalo and Nita is short. In their conversation, one can glimpse
the kind of relationship the couple has. It starts with the arrival of Gonzalo. The coffee table was
set, and the conversation went on. The couple has not been married that long. Deception in
marriage breeds even at the start of their relationship-to be specific on their wedding date. Adrian
is looking at Nita; Gonzalo, on the other hand, is looking somewhere else.
Adrian meets up Gonzalo in the house to borrow money from him. Again, the
recollection of their past is accounted for. Adrian is fond of borrowing things from Gonzalo when
they were in grade school. Adrian treats it to be his own. When he was asked if he has visited the
house, his answers were quite discrepant with the answers given by Nita. Thus, his suspicions
were confirmed.
He poured the cyanide he prepared in Adrians cup. Nita was horrified at the thought that
Adrian could be killed. The story ended when Gonzalo contacted the policemen to come over to
their house to see the three rats. This could be an indication that he inflicts pain or worst he killed
Nita, Adrian and himself.
The play is very short and the way the characters interact is our way of shedding light to
what really came up with the characters before the conversation in the living room. Deceit is in
every corner of the house. Nita deceives Gonzalo for sleeping with her husbands best friend.
Gonzalo deceives Nita for having her believe that things are all right between them; and he plays
innocent in the affairs of his wife; and Adrian has been deceiving both Gonzalo and Nita. He
might just be using Gonzalo for him to finance his caprices especially in gambling. He also

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deceives Nita for having her believe that she is loved and cared for more than her wife could do
to her.
Characterization
In discussing the characterization aspect of the play, it might as well good enough to
consider the types of conflict that the characters are into. First is man versus man. One, Nita is in
conflict with the dismissed maid. The sudden disposal of the maid before Gonzalo arrives poses
a question especially that the maid has had an impeccable character. She has been serving the
couple ever since they started living together. It is just questionable why on that day, she was
dismissed. Two, Gonzalo is in conflict with Adrian. Their conflict does not only begin when Nita
betrays Gonzalos trust. They had been rivals since they were kids. Three, is the conflict between
Mr. Viterbo and his wife Mila. They are characters mentioned in the news which gives the
foreshadowing event of the death of Adrian. Last is the conflict between Gonzalo and Nita. Nita
could have just left Adrian, but it is very clear that she defended Adrian much to the extent of
begging Gonzalo to kill her and spare Adrian.
Second type of conflict is man versus himself. One, Gonzalo suffers from his falling
memory. He forgets most of the valuable things in his life, especially his marriage. He could
have feigned amnesia as his memory becomes part of his scheme to catch the lying tongues of
his wife. Two, Adrian is caught incapable to escape from his addiction to gambling. He
constantly borrows money from Gonzalo. Gonzalo gives him every cent he could give to Adrian;
but he could just not stand Adrian borrowing his wife. Adrian is penniless that reduced him to not
wanting any woman to be his wife.

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These two types of conflict explore the characters and the roles they play in the
Guerreros questions of morality and legality. Thus, it makes the play succinct and dynamic.
C. SIGNIFICATION
This paper assumes that the dominant element in Wilfrido Ma. Guerreros The Three
Rats is conflict. Theme, characterization, plot and dialogue are not so much developed as to the
way the dramatist puts emphasis on the conflict the characters have been trying to resolve. Three
types of conflict are taken into consideration: man versus man; man versus nature; and man
versus himself. These conflicts reflect the reality thus, the study utilizes real-life situations to
understand the characters motives of revenge and defense.
The assumption of the writer is supported by Mimetic theory or the theory of imitation.
Plato, a classical Greek philosopher once mentioned in his The Republic, that Literature is a
copy of a copy of reality. Literature is twice removed from the reality. What is real is the ideal.
Idealism as a philosophy postulates that what is real resides in the mind. The reflections of the
mind are what everybody sees in the external world. These reflections are then copied by the
literary laureate. Moreover, Aristotles Poetics asserts that literature copies reality by
perfecting its imperfections.
Moreover, Rene Girard (1996 p. 42) has stressed mimetic desire. He said that mimetic
desire usually happens between siblings and anyone who considers one to be his kin. The object
of desire is similar between siblings. Rivalry happens when a brother tries to acquire the same
object of desire of his brother. To get ones desire, he must take his rival away which leads to
destruction.

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These classical notions are used in order to assert the dominant element of the play.
Rivalry, deceit and desire amalgamate the conflict. Plato and Aristotles concepts are mainly
imitating nature. Guerrero has taken these concepts from his environment. Even in the play, there
is the inclusion of news item. That is evidence that the play itself is an imitation of nature.
Modern notions are also used in order to support that conflict is the dominant element of
the play. Three types of conflicts are congested in the play. First is man versus man. Gonzalo is
in conflict with Adrian. Girards theory of mimetic desire is prevalent in the play. Gonzalo and
Adrian, though not from the same kin, are childhood friends. The play accounts on the friendship
between the two as if they are brothers. Adrian usually borrows Gonzalos things; and also his
wife. Only destruction is the ultimate solution. Thus, Gonzalo poisons Adrian.
Second is man versus nature. When Gonzalo reads about the news item of a husband
killing his wife for sleeping with another man, Gonzalos decision is induced by copying reality.
It serves the husband right to inflict pain on both his wife and his friend. Using cyanide is a
common means to kill a rat. The use of it is just a copy of what has been happening in the
society.
Third is man versus himself. Gonzalo has feigned a lot of emotions. He is in conflict with
himself because he has a failing memory. He forgets a lot of his childhood memories. However,
he might be acting it out only in order to put an end to the deceit of his friend and his wife.
Another is his loss of self-control which contradicts to what he believes in. He could have left
Adrian and Nita. However, he finds pleasure in revenge which ultimately leads to their
destruction.

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The presence of the three types of conflicts which reflect reality makes the researcher
affirm his assumption that the dominant element of Wilfrido Ma. Guerreros The Three Rats is
conflict.
CHAPTER 3
Synthesis: Curtains Down
Summary
In summary, Wilfrido Ma. Guerreros The Three Rats talk about revenge as its central
theme. This theme is reinforced with its conflict as its dominant element. This might have been
affected with the literary milieu when Guerrero wrote the play. Extreme Filipinism is manifested
in the play that is idiosyncratic in the Republican era. Having the dialogue, characterization,
theme, conflict, scenery and its stageability, the piece is play in prose depicting social realism.
Conclusion
Conclusively, the play is possibly analyzed through these three processes: setting the
literary milieu, identifying the dominant element and defining the signification of the play.
Hence, revenge as its theme, with conflict as its dominant element, the play is a prototype of
plays characterizing the Republican era in the evolution of Philippine developmental drama.
Recommendations
It is highly recommended that the following studies must be taken in the future:
1. The literary development of drama in the Philippines in the contemporary period;
2. The relations among Southeast Asian literatures with regards to the same literary
milieu; and
3. The formalistic comparison of the plays among Southeast Asian countries.

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Works Cited
Keesey, Donald. Contexts for Criticism. Mountain View, California: Mayfield Pub. Co., 1992.
Girard, Ren. The Girard Reader. New York: Crossroad (1996) 42.
Pesirla, Angel. Handouts in Literary Criticism. Cebu Normal University.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimesis

Appendices
THE THREE RATS
By: Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero
CHARACTERS:
GONZALO
NITA (his wife)
ADRIAN

(his

best

friend)

PLACE:
-- Forbes Park, a suburb near Manila.
SCENE:
The living room. A coffee-table in front of the sofa. On left side, a large balcony
through which the street lights pour in. On a table near the balcony are a telephone and a
lamp. A floor-lamp beside the sofa. Magazines on the tables. The room reveals the refined
taste of the owners.
TIME: Evening, about nine o'clock. August.
GONZALO is seated on the sofa, reading the paper. GONZALO is tall, with a
compelling personality. About twenty-seven, he possesses a warm and attractive charm,
except for his piercing eyes which can flash with contempt when the occasion demands. He
wears a well-cut suit, and a flashing red tie. He speaks with a low caressing voice.
NITA, his wife, comes in with a large tray, with a pot of coffee and two cups, etc.
NITA is an attractive woman of nineteen. She is rather short, with laughing eyes and a
gentle voice. Her expression is innocent, and there is a subtle air of adolescence about her.
She wears a striking evening gown.
NITA. Here's the coffee, Gonzalo. (She sets the tray on the table.)
GONZALO (Without lifting his eyes from the paper) Is it hot?
NITA. (Laughing) -- Boiling. (She pours a cup and gives it to him.) Here. (He takes his cup,
slowly sips it, without taking his eyes off the paper.) You must be tired from your trip to
Baguio.
GONZALO. Not at all, Nita.
NITA Two whole weeks. Long enough for me. I was lonely.
GONZALO Were you? (Looks at her briefly.)
NITA Of course, Gonzalo. I forgot to tell you. I dismissed the maid this morning. I couldn't
stand her insolent ways.
GONZALO. Cora insolent? I never noticed it. She was quite efficient, it seems to me -- and
we've had her for a good many years

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NITA. (Laughing again). No, Gonzalo, remember? We got her when we were married-- and
we have been married only seven months (She sits beside her husband and puts her arm
around him). Do you know that the prices of canned goods have gone up? -- And it took me
a long time before I could find the right pair of shoes to go with this dress.. Luckily I found
what I wanted at Rustan's. By the way, Menchu came this afternoon and brought me the
towels
GONZALO. Hmm?
NITA. You aren't listening, Gonzalo.
GONZALO. Who did you say came?
NITA. Menchu. I had her initial the new towels. They turned out to be perfectly charming.
Your initials are in blue.
GONZALO. You said somebody came this afternoon?
NITA. (Laughing long). Yes, Menchu, the woman who does the embroidery.
GONZALO. Ah yes. Sorry, Nita. Who else?
NITA. No one else, Gonzalo. (She starts imperceptibly, a flitting across her face. But all this
Gonzalo does not notice. Suddenly he puts dawn the paper and stares at her dress, NITA
sits, inexplicably tense.)
GONZALO. Nita.
NITA. (With a slight trembling of the voice).. Yes?
GONZALO. How come?
NITA. What do you mean?
GONZALO. What are you all dressed up for? (NITA relaxes and laughs again)
NITA. Like it?
GONZALO. Exquisite.
NITA. I'm glad it's to your taste. Im merely trying it on for the big day tomorrow.
GONZALO. Tomorrow?
NITA. You haven't forgotten, Gonzalo?
GONZALO. Frankly-- it escapes my memory.
NITA. Our wedding sort-- of-- anniversary.
GONZALO. Our first anniversary?
NITA. (Bursting out Laughing.) No, no, Gonzalo. We've been married only seven months. We
decided, during out honeymoon -- remember? -- to celebrate our anniversary every month
of our marriage.
GONZALO Ah, this beautiful forgetful memory of mine.
NITA. (Playfully) Yes, I know it has been getting worse lately. Two weeks ago, before you
went up to Baguio, we decided to go out and celebrate at the Jai-Alai that's where we met
for the first time-- a year ago.
GONZALO. Or like it, definitely.
NITA. (Mockingly, but hurt). Well, I am flattered. Husbands are so hard to please these days.
GONZALO. Where did we celebrate last month?
NITA. We went to Hilton.
GONZALO. And the month before that?
NITA. May I refresh your failing memory? The month before last we had supper at Bon
Vivant-- and the previous month we went to La Parrilla and afterwards to Manila Hotel for
dancing.
GONZALO. The first month?
NITA. We went, to that panciteria on Carvajal street.
GONZALO. Couldn't we go tomorrow to another panciteria and just have siopao and arroz
caldo?
NITA. Oh no, Gonzalo! I want to show off my beautiful dress!
GONZALO: As you wish, Nita. Know something?
NITA What?
GONZALO. You look as beautiful and as young as that night we met.
NITA, But, Gonzalo, do you expect me to turn into an old hag so soon?
GONZALO. I must buy you a present then. What would you like?

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NITA. How much can you afford?


GONZALO. The sky's the limit-NITA. Is business that good?'
GONZALO. I closed a big deal in Baguio
NITA I saw a diamond bracelet at Estrella del Sur that simply took my breath away.
GONZALO. How much?
NITA. A bargain, practically.
GONZALO. How much of a bargain?
NITA. Ten thousand (GONZALO gives a low whistle. NITA laughs too. She stands up.) That's
too much, I know. I was only kidding. But you did' say the sky's the limit, so
GONZALO. You heard right, Nita. Buy it.
NITA. (Embracing him) -- Oh Gonzalo, thanks! I'm a lucky woman to have such a wonderful
husband, (GONZALO smiles briefly, but there is irony in his smile. NITA starts putting the
cups on the tray.)
GONZALO. Nita, did a man come this afternoon?
NITA. (Stiffening imperceptibly). A man? why-- no.
GONZALO. I mean-- I sent a man to fix the TV set.
NITA. No, nobody came-- aside from Menchu. But there's nothing wrong with our TV,
Gonzalo. I was watching my favorite program half an hour ago. (GONZALO, aware that his
wife it staring at him, tries to laugh it off.)
GONZALO. I'm sorry-- an agent was selling me a new TV set this morning-- and I thought I
had bought it-- oh, what am I saying? This splendid memory of mine, Nita
NITA. (Smiling). And you at the decrepit age of twenty -- seven. GONZALO. (Changing the
subject). The coffee still warm?
NITA. (Touching the pot). It is (She fills up his cup again. GONZALO has sat down... As he
drinks his coffee, NITA, her back to him, is arranging the tray. GONZALO takes out a piece
of paper and unfolds it. NITA turns and sees it.) What's that, Gonzalo?
GONZALO.. (Quietly). Cyanide.
NITA. Cyanide?
GONZALO. Potassium cyanide.
NITA. Is it dangerous?
GONZALO. It should be. People are known to commit murder or suicide-- with it.
NITA. Is it that fatal?
GONZALO. Those are the rumors.
NITA. (Alarmed). Why do you carry it around with you?
GONZALO. Oh-- just as a joke.
NITA. Gonzalo! Carrying poison around isn't a joke.
GONZALO. Well, it isn't the kind of a joke the average person would indulge in, but, Nita,
don't bother your pretty little head about it. Cyanide is sold in drugstores, and you wouldn't
order closing the drugstores because of it, would you?
NITA. (Sitting beside him). Why, in heaven's name, do you have that poison with you?
GONZALO: It isn't just ordinary poison-- it's an unusual one. I use it in my business. Cyanide
is a necessary ingredient in the plating process. We couldn't do without it.
NITA. I understand now, Gonzalo. But I still think you should throw it away. (Taking two or
three crystals of cyanide, GONZALO drops them inside the cup. NITA gasps softly.)
Gonzalo!
GONZALO; Will you stop worrying? You can throw it away later
NITA. But the cup-GONZALO You can throw away the cup and the cyanide together.
NITA But the cup is from my favorite coffee set. Adrian gave it to us.
GONZALO He did?
NITA It was his wedding present.... Oh Gonzalo, your memory!
GONZALO I can always buy you another.
NITA You wouldn't find another like it, even if you looked all over town.
GONZALO One set is as good as another.

Page | 19

NITA (Softly but with a strained tone). No, it isn't, Gonzalo. The sentimental value -GONZALO. People attach too much importance to sentimental value. One should attach
himself to nothing and to nobody. (NITA looks at him, aghast)
NITA (Slowly and softly, as if afraid to contradict him). How can you say that, Gonzalo?
Attach oneself to nothing and to nobody. Don't I mean anything to you? And Adrian -- your
best friend -- you've always been so attached to him.
(GONZALO stares at her briefly, smiles feebly, and goes to her.)
GONZALO Sorry Nita, Business worries and all that sort of thing. You know how deeply
attached I am to you.
NITA And to Adrian.
GONZALO And to Adrian.
NITA The doctor told you time and time again to take good care of your hyperthyroid. You
refuse to take Lugol. He also told you to avoid any emotional strain.
GONZALO. I know, Nita, I know. All this irritability and my high-- strung condition -NITA (With a conciliatory tone). You should have taken a good rest in Baguio, instead of
rushing about with your business-GONZALO I did try to rest up there, but something unexpected came up -- I got through
with my business sooner than I expected.
NITA Something unexpected? Something serious?
GONZALO No, nothing important really. (Changing his tone.) By the way, has Adrian been
around?
NITA Not since you left two weeks ago.
GONZALO Does he know I am back?
NITA How could he? You arrived only a few hours ago.
GONZALO Nita, please bring me some whisky, please.
(NITA picks up her cup and puts it in the tray.)
GONZALO (Laughingly). You know what your cousin Chita once said at a party? She said
that Filipinos who have bars in their homes are cheap imitators of Hollywood and the
American ways, and -- guess what else she said?
GONZALO; What?
NITA. She said drinking in one's home is a sign of decadence. Can you imagine her
insolence?
GONZALO. Perhaps she's right, Nita. Perhaps we're becoming decadent (GONZALO still
holds the cup with cyanide in it; NITA puts Out her hand to get the cup, when the telephone
Tint'. NITA grows slightly tense. She puts down the tray and is about to answer the
telephone, but GONZALO rises abruptly, still holding the cup, and goes to the table.) -Hello?-- Adrian (NITA becomes apprehensive.) Well-- talk about the devil! Nita and I were
just talking about you. (NITA pretends to busy herself with the tray, but she is listening.) Oh,
I arrived a few hours ago. Where are you now? In the drugstore across the street? Well, drop
over. When? Right now-- No, no, Nita and I are still awake. I'll give you exactly one minute .
(He promptly puts down the receiver. GONZALO has left the cup on the table.)
NITA. What did he want?
GONZALO. Nothing. He said he was calling from the drugstore. How did he know I was
back?
NITA. He probably heard about it.
GONZALO. (After a brief pause.) Naturally.
NITA. (Taking the tray). I'll get the whisky-- (She goes out. GONZALO sits immobile. His
eyes turn to the table where the fatal cup lies. He stands up, picks up the cup, and puts it
down again. He goes to the balcony, waves his hand at someone he has seen. NITA comes
in with a tray.)
GONZALO. Adrian is here!
(NITA sets the tray on the low table, as ADRIAN comes in. ADRIAN is twenty-five,
with a boyish personality. He wears a pair of brown pants and a light-colored coat. He carries
his clothes indifferently. He smokes incessantly. His voice is slightly high-pitched but
pleasant. He goes to GONZALO and shakes hands).

Page | 20

ADRIAN. When did you get back?


GONZALO. Didn't you know I was back?
ADRIAN. (flushing). Why-- er-- yes. I missed you, Gonzalo. (Turning to NITA.) Hello, Nita.
Stepping. out?
NITA. (Pointing to her dress). Oh, this? No, just trying it on (GONZALO has motioned
ADRIAN to sit down.)
GONZALO. Whisky, Adrian?
ADRIAN. You know. I never touch it.
NITA. How about some coffee?
ADRIAN. I don't mind. (NITA goes out.)
GONZALO. Where have you been hiding yourself?
ADRIAN. I've been very busy lately.
GONZALO You and your restless nature. You have passed the bar exams. Why don't you
get settled once and for all?
ADRIAN I will Gonzalo, I will.
GONZALO What did you call me up for just now. Adrian?
(ADRIAN hesitates briefly.)
ADRIAN Er -- my cigarette case. The plating finished?
GONZALO. It was ready before I left for Baguio. I have it here with me. (Takes cigarette case
from his pocket.) You'll hardly recognize it. It looks like new.
ADRIAN. This was a present from you-- our college graduation, remember?
GONZALO Yes, I remember the saleslady told me it was gold, -- but it turned out to be only
gold plated.
ADRIAN Youre looking fine, Gonzalo.
GONZALO Frankly, I lost a few pounds. (GONZALO goes near the balcony, lights a
cigarette.) By the way, Adrian, were you here this afternoon?
ADRIAN. Yes, Gonzalo.
GONZALO. At what time?
ADRIAN. I came at about two, but the maid told me Nita was asleep, so I left. I thought
perhaps you had already arrived from Baguio. Didn't the maid tell you?
GONZALO. (Picking up the cup and setting it down). Oh yes she told me. (NITA comes in
with the coffee tray, but has forgotten to bring in cups. She puts it down on the coffee ta ble.
ADRIAN feels the pot.)
ADRIAN. Ouch! Boiling!
NITA. Gonzalo likes it that way.
ADRIAN. I'll wait till it cools off a little.
GONZALO. (Filling up his glass with more whisky). As you wish. (NITA sits beside
GONZALO.)
NITA. You know what your friend Gonzalo said a while ago?
ADRIAN. Not unless you tell me-NITA. He said, and I quote: "One should attach himself to nothing and to nobody."
ADRIAN. Did you really, Gonzalo?
GONZALO. I don't remember.
NITA Imagine Gonzalo talking like that, when he talked so much -- about you before we got
married. In fact, once or twice we had a quarrel because he insisted on repeating "Adrian
said this and Adrian said that and Adrian and I did this-- " (Pause) How old were you when
you became friends?'
ADRIAN.. I was about ten then.
GONZALO. Adrian and I went to grade school together.
NITA. You managed to be classmates all the time?
GONZALO. We managed.
NITA. But aren't you older?
GONZALO. By tad years. Once, in seventh grade, the teacher insisted on putting us in
separate sections.
ADRIAN. The teacher thought I was smarter and should be in Section A.

Page | 21

GONZALO. But Adrian went to the principal's office and pleaded-ADRIAN I won. We both stayed in the same section.
NITA. Section A?
ADRIAN. No, Section C. (They laugh.)
GONZALO. Adrian looked so boyish then-- he was considered the best-looking in school-that I used to tease him by calling him Baby- Face.
NITA. He still retains much of that baby-like expression, doesn't he? (They laugh again.
GONZALO grows serious.)
GONZALO. Adrian had a characteristic then.
ADRIAN. Yeah? What was that?
GONZALO. Mind you, I am not saying you still have it-- besides, it wasn't anything usual.
NITA. A characteristic?
GONZALO. Adrian was seldom satisfied with what he had. Once-- in high school-NITA. I see your memory is still good, Gonzalo.
GONZALO. (Quietly). Yes, strange how oftentimes our memory vividly relives incidents
hidden in our past-ADRIAN. Go ahead. You were saying-GONZALO. Well, my mother gave me, on my birthday, a linen suit. Adrian liked it so much
he insisted on borrowing it every Sunday. He had other suits, but he fell in love with this
particular one.
NITA. What happened?
GONZALO. I finally gave it to him.
ADRIAN. (Laughing). I don't recall that incident.
GONZALO. And on another occasion Nita. Guess what I found this afternoon, while looking
over some papers? Some pictures of our wedding.
GONZALO. (Suddenly). Not becoming sentimental at so early a stage of our marriage, are
you, Nita?
NITA. I. know, but Adrian was best man-- and he looked so funny in one of the pictures. He
was staring at me, while you, Gonzalo, were looking somewhere else.
ADRIAN. Let me see it. I haven't seen any of the wedding pictures
NITA. I'll get them. (NITA goes out. GONZALO walks over to the table, picks-up the
poisoned cup and places is on the low table in of the sofa.)
ADRIAN. Gonzalo- I'm glad you're back. (GONZALO looks at ADRIAN for a brief moment.
With the usual clairvoyance of old friends being able to read each others expression,
GONZALO goes to ADRIAN and puts his arm around him.)
GONZALO. What's wrong?
ADRIAN. I-er-I'm in trouble again.
GONZALO; Financial? (ADRIAN nods sheepishly.) How much is it this time?
ADRIAN. Quite a sum.
GONZALO. One thousand?
ADRIAN. Two and a half. (GONZALO takes out his check book and pen, and sits down.)
GONZALO. Poker?
ADRIAN. Races and Jai-Alai. (GONZALO writes out the amount.)
GONZALO. (Giving him the check). You haven't changed, Adrian. (After a pause.) No
woman trouble?
ADRIAN. (Taking the check). Thanks. You know I've never had much use for women.
GONZALO. It's about time you started looking for someone to settle down with.
ADRIAN. If I find the right girlGONZALO. And your idea of the right woman?
ADRIAN. You know what my idea of the right girlGONZALO. I still remember it. "She must be serious and intelligent-she must be a virgin
and-"
ADRIAN. Can you find a woman like that nowadays?
GONZALO. There aren't many, I admit, but if you look hard enough- (NITA comes in.)
NITA. Here it is. (Both men look at the picture, and then burst out laughing).

Page | 22

ADRIAN. Gonzalo looked scared or something.


GONZALO. I was. The last words in the ritual "-till death do us part' were still ringing in my
ears-and the doctor had just told me I might live up to seventy. (NITA laughs long and loud.)
NITA. Look who's talking? I hope to live up to eighty myself.
GONZALO. (As he pours himself another drink). You know, Adrian was always an idealist.
That's why he hasn't married yet. He's twenty-four
ADRIAN. Twenty-five.
NITA. I like the cold-blooded callousness with which men reveal their age
GONZALO. I remember. during our college days-- Adrian fell in love once. When he found
out the girl had a regular boy friend, he gave her up.
NITA. But if the girl was engagedGONZALO. She wasn't. And even if she were that doesn't stop most men from going after
her.
NITA. Men's tremendous conceit. And you still have those ideals, Adrian?
GONZALO. Adrian will never change.
NITA. Don't rush him. He'll give up those ideals yet.
GONZALO. (Brusquely). Why? (Caught by the suddenness, NITA stops.)
NITA. Well, people-sometimes-alter their ideals as they grow older, don't they?
GONZALO. (Softening his tone). You're right. People shouldn't hold on to their original
ideals, too long. (Taking the bottle again.) Want a drink, Adrian?
ADRIAN. But I don't drink.
NITA. Just try once, Adrian.
ADRIAN. All right. (ADRIAN takes the drink. As he puts back the glass on the table, the
newspaper falls off the low table.)
GONZALO. (Picking up the newspaper and tossing it on a chair). Have you read this
afternoon's paper?
ADRIAN. Haven't had time.
GONZALO. There's an interesting item on the front page.
NITA. What about?
GONZALO. About a murder last night.
NITA. I shudder at the mere sound of the word "murder"
GONZALO. (Laughing briefly). You never can tell, Nita. Someday you or I might be a witness
to one.
NITA. Oh, not me!
GONZALO. Suppose were walking along the Escolta, and some-body sticks a knife into or
shoots somebody? Shall we dose our eyes and pretend we didn't see it?
NITA. That would be different. But I know Ill be careful not to be around when a crime takes
place.
ADRIAN. What was last night's case?
GONZALO. (Glancing at the paper). You know Mr. and Mrs. Tito Viterbo?
ADRIAN. The prominent attorney, isn't he?
NITA. Not the Viterbo married to Mila Revilla?
GONZALO. You know her?
NITA. Very well. Mila and I were classmates in the same convent school, the Annunciata.
GONZALO. A very religious woman, according to the paper.- She never missed going to
Quiapo church every Friday afternoon-you know, the Nazarene.
NITA. She was the most religious girl in our class.
GONZALO. The papers say she used to meet her lover in Quiapo church.
NITA. Did anything happen to Mila?
GONZALO. It seems Tito Viterbo's best friend was having an affair with Tito's wife.
NITA. I can't believe it of Mila.
ADRIAN. Mr. Viterbo killed his friend?
GONZALO. No, he killed his wife;
NITA. Poor Mila.
ADRIAN. Unfortunate husband.

Page | 23

GONZALO: (Laughing). Unfortunate, my eye! Stupid rather!


ADRIAN. But why?
NITA. Gonzalo, how can you be so callous? After all, he had the right to kill her.
GONZALO. Because she was unfaithful to him? Decades ago that might have been justifiedbut in an enlightened age like-ours, killing a faithless wife or her lover speaks none too
highly of the husbands sense of proportion.
ADRIAN. (Shocked). What an idea, Gonzalo!
GONZALO. To kill the wife because she is unfaithful is for the husband to admit that he has
lost her-and if you lose some-thing or somebody. Dont you think that it's most probably
through your own carelessness? The sense of possession is strong in every love.
ADRIAN. Granted in another generation when material things were few and expensive, one
could understand the fierce desire to possess and hold on to something.
NITA. Gonzalo, you can't confuse love with the material.
GONZALO. I am not confusing them. True love isn't a material thing. It's intangible,
spiritual~ capable of touching the stars, reaching the infinite, embracing God!
NITA. Poetry, Gonzalo.
ADRIAN. No, Nita. Truth.
GONZALO (Smiling). But not all marriages are born of love.
ADRIAN. Of what then?
GONZALO. Of passion. And if it is passion in your marriage, to lose the object of your
passion need not-should not-necessarily be tragic.
ADRIAN. What would you have had Mr. Viterbo do, then?
GONZALO Forgiven his wife..
ADRIAN. But Mr. Viterbo's wife was guilty of breakingGONZALO. The fourth commandmentNITA. The sixth, Gonzalo.
GONZALO. (Laughing). Right. "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Ah, but I know the ninth.
'Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife."
NITA. Splendid. Your memory is improving.
GONZALO. (As he pours himself another drink). There's one word that has disappeared
from the vocabulary of the moderns.
NITA. What word?
GONZALO. The word adultery. The moderns have such a revolting dread of such an ugly,
repulsive, old-fashioned word that they have substituted for it, "So-and-so is having an affair
with-or is in love with somebody else," and similar, charming, harmless phrases. But the
word adultery itself they. avoid and abhor. To the moderns, adultery doesn't exist any more.
NITA. Your narrow views surprise me, Gonzalo.
ADRIAN. Levity aside, if ! had my way I'd have a name for Mr. Viterbo's wife and her lover.
GONZALO. And that isADRIAN. I'd call them a couple of rats.
GONZALO. (Laughing uproariously). That's interesting, Adrian. Why, in heaven's name?
ADRIAN. Adultery is punishable by law, don't you know?
GONZALO. If I may be permitted to stretch the point further, I'd prefer to call the three of
them rats.
NITA. Why include the poor husband?
GONZALO. For breaking the fifth commandment-"Thou shalt not kill." (They all break into
laughter. GONZALO again takes the bottle.) Another, Adrian?
ADRIAN. If you don't mind, I'd like some coffee.
NITA. Oh, I forgot to bring in new cups.
GONZALO. (Stopping her as she is about to go). Don't bother,
NITA. Here's one.
NITA. But you used that cup before.
ADRIAN. I don't mind.
NITA. (Staring at him-realizing it is the fatal cup). Gonzalo, that cup-ADRIAN. I don't believe in germs, Nita.

Page | 24

NITA. (Alarmed). It isn't thatGONZALO. Adrian is right, Nita. One cup is as good- (NITA utters a muffled scream.
GONZALO goes to her and holds her arm firmly, cruelly. NITA winces.)
ADRIAN. Is she ill?
GONZALO. If you call expecting a babyNITA. No! (But NITA, still feeling the pressure of GONZALO'S hand on her, remains
speechless.)
ADRIAN. Well, congratulations!
GONZALO. It's too early to tell.. She'll be all right Women insist on deluding themselves that
they can be the equal. of men. When they are pregnant, they wake up from their trance.
(NITA, struck with terror, falls in a chair. GONZALO takes the pot, and, making it seem
accidental, spills some' coffee on ADRIAN's clothes) How stupid of me!
GONZALO. Go inside and wipe it off. (ADRIAN stands up and walks toward the door. NITA
tries to follow.)
NITA. I'll 'get you a clean towel.
GONZALO (Looking at her steadily). Adrian knows his way around. He's like one of the
family. There's a clean towel in the bathroom. (ADRIAN goes out. NITA springs up from the
chair and runs to GONZALO.)
NITA. What are you trying to do?
GONZALO. What are you talking about?
NITA. The cup, Gonzalo, the cup! (He looks at her, without saying -a word.) Throw it away,
throw it away! (GONZALO pushes her away, roughly.)
GONZALO. Shut up, you bitch!
NITA. Don't do it, don't! (GONZALO lights a cigarette sits calmly.)
GONZALO. So no one came this afternoon. Adrian admitted he did.
NITA. No!
GONZALO. (Ignoring her interruptions). But he made one slight -mistake: he said he had
told the maid he had come. But he doesnt know you dismissed her this morning.
NITA. N~, no!
GONZALO. That's why you dismissed Cora. She knew 'and you were afraid she was going to
talk. Adrian has been coming here every afternoon for the last two weeks. I had my suspicions-that's why I went up to Baguio. I could have come hack in a day or two-but I wanted to
give you and-Adrian the satisfaction of a last romantic, evil fling! (NITA throws herself on his
knees.)
NITA. Gonzalo-Gonzalo!
GONZALO. Both of you pretending, deceiving, lying behind my back! (NITA breaks into
sobs.)
NITA. True, true! And I'm so ashamed!
GONZALO. (Contemptuously). Ashamed? (Gently.) You know the meaning of the word?
NITA. I don't know why I did it, I don't know!
GONZALO. Now you know-and it's too late.
NITA (Pleadingly). What are you going to do?
GONZALO. Destroy him
NITA. Adrian?
GONZALO. You're quite psychic, beloved.
NITA. Let Adrian go!
GONZALO. Because my love for him is deeper-him I must destroy
NITA. But not this way-not this callous way! Give him an even chance!
GONZALO. For a rat like him?
NITA. If you must destroy, destroy me then! Spare Adrian!
GONZALO. (Softly). He means that much to you, my dear?
NITA. No, no-not now-not anymore! But there must be some pity left in you!
GONZALO. There is-a tiny bit-but my pity isn't for Adrian. Im reserving it for you.
NITA. Destroy me then-I'm just as guilty!

Page | 25

GONZALO. No, Nita, I cannot destroy you. I'll let you live-but I'll let you breathe, eat, and
sleep every second of your cursed life with that ugly word adulteress in your heart!
NITA. I'd rather die! I'd rather be destroyed!
GONZALO. You must live, my dearest Nita. Dying is so easy. And why die when there's so
much ahead of you?
NITA. (Brokenly). There's nothing-nothing-ahead, or me-now.
GONZALO. Your feelings are a matter of indifference' to me. Soon you're going to witness a
crime. You're going to see your beloved-and my beloved friend-Adrian-die the death of a rat
NITA. I won't stand it. I won't! I won't! I can't! (GONZALO stands up smiling.)
GONZALO. You're going to stay here and not utter a single word or make the least gesture.
(His tone dripping with venom.) Even though you arent a very intelligent woman I think you
understand my words. (Bending over.) Come, my dear, allow me to take you to this chair.
You need, a rest. (GONZALO forcibly raises NITA up. She sinks, exhausted and terrified, into
a chain Presently ADRIAN comes in.) Everything all right, Adrian?
ADRIAN. It was nothing. It won't show.
GONZALO. (Pouring). Take your coffee.
ADRIAN. Sorry. I must be getting along.
GONZALO. Take your coffee first.
ADRIAN. (After a brief hesitation). All right.(Seeing NITA) she feeling worse?
GONZALO. Nothing serious.
ADRIAN. She should go in and rest, don't you think?
GONZALO. She will, presently.
ADRIAN. (Taking the cup). This coffee is still hot. (NITA wakes up from her trance and
watches GONZALO'S actions. ADRIAN takes some sugar and stirs it.)
GONZALO. Still warm?
ADRIAN. Just right. (As he is about to drink it, NITA stands up.)
NITA. Oh Adrian, I'm sure it's cold nowADRIAN. Don't bother, NitaGONZALO. (To NITA). Stop being so fussyNITA. Are you sure, Adrian?
ADRIAN. Sure. (He gulps down tire drink. NITA covers her mouth with her hand. Frightened,
site rushes out.)
GONZALO. Poor Nita. Sometimes, Adrian, I think you're better off as a bachelor.
ADRIAN. Well, well! A while ago you were advising me to get married.
GONZALO. You should, Adrian, you should.
ADRIAN. I'm not prepared-to settle down yet.
GONZALO. Aren't you afraid to die a bachelor?
ADRIAN. (Laughing). I expect to live a little longer, Gonzalo.
GONZALO. A little longer is right. (ADRIAN'S face slowly begins to get red. He feels
giddiness in his head-- he presses his temples.)
ADRIAN. My headGONZALO. What's wrong?
ADRIAN. Don't know-my head-never felt like thisGONZALO. Sit down. (ADRIAN sits on the sofa.) You'll feel better.
ADRIAN. (Touching his throat). My throat-- can't breathe
GONZALO. An aspirin will do you good.
ADRIAN. The coffee-- could it be-GONZALO. (Picking up the cup and smelling it). No, I don't think so. Probably the effect of
the whisky eh Adrian?
ADRIAN. (Laughing dryly). Yes-first time, you know.
GONZALO. By the way, will the two thousand and a half be enough? I could lend you more.
ADRIAN. (Taking out the check from his pocket). Thanks, Gonzalo Always the wonderful
friend.
GONZALO. Friendship is unto the graveADRIAN. And beyond it.

Page | 26

GONZALO. Yes-even beyond it.


ADRIAN. I sometimes-wonder-what I would do-or where-I would be-without you. Gonzalo.
GONZALO. (Affectionately). Aw, shut up, Baby Face.
ADRIAN You haven't-called me-Baby Face since Our high school days- (ADRIAN'S eyes start
to protrude-they become staring and wide open the pupils dilated and immobile.)
GONZALO. Lie down -- you're just tired. The light must be bothering you (GONZALO turns
off all the lights, leaving the scene in complete darkness, except for some light streaming
through the balcony from the street.)
GONZALO. Just rest, Adrian.
ADRIAN. No, no-I must-tell you-something-GONZALO. Not now. Tomorrow.
ADRIAN. (Terror in his voice). Now!-very important-very-(ADRIAN begins to gasp and moan
softly. Then silence.)
GONZALO. I attach myself to nothing and to nobody.
(As ADRIAN continues moaning, GONZALO lights a cigarette. A long silence,
Then-ADRIAN falls noisily upsetting the coffee table, breaking the cup and glasses.
Simultaneously, we hear a long, shrill, agonizing, terrifying scream outside.)
NITA. (Outside-- unspeakable terror in her voice). Adrian-Adrian! ADRIAN!! (Her words are
followed by heartrending sobs which keep on till the final curtain. GONZALO throws his
cigarette away, goes to ADRIAN, gets the check, tears it up. Slowly he goes to the
telephone and dials.)
GONZALO. (Quietly and deliberately). Hello? Police Department? If you care to come to 60
Banaba St., Forbes Park, you'll find three rats- (pause) yes, yes, that's what I just said-three
rats.
(As we hear NITA hysterically sobbing her heart out, the curtain falls)

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About the Literary Critic:

Lorlaine Retes-Dacanay is a Cum Laude graduate of Bachelor


of Arts in English at Cebu Normal University in 2004. She finished her Master of Arts in
Education major in English Language Teaching in 2007 and currently, she is a Doctor of Arts in
Literature and Communication candidate at the same university.
She has taught at Southwestern University, as a Literature and Speech Communication
instructor for five years before she decided to venture abroad. In 2009, she worked as one of the
ICDL and English teachers at Al Manhal Institute in Al Ain Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In
2011, she moved to Egypt to continue her studies and get her International Computer Driving
License. However, for her there is no place like home; so in March 2012, she moved back to the
Philippines and taught at the University of the Visayas as one of the fulltime Faculty members in
the College of Arts and Sciences.
The researcher is greatly influenced by her mentors and friends especially in the area of
studying feminism as a theory and practice. It is in this research that she could identify herself
well in how to represent properly women in literary works. It is her vision to enhance womens
image in the society as they practice their sense of liberation, freedom and empowerment.

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