Behind Two Strong Men is an Even Stronger Woman
Sigmund Freud said, “A woman should soften but not weaken a man.” This quote exemplifies the character Casilda from Isabel Allende’s short story “The Judge’s Wife”. Although not seen by all as a main character, Casilda is the strongest and most evolutionary character of the short story. “The Judge’s Wife” is an exceptional tale that follows the progression of characters as they fight against their predetermined destinies and how they are viewed in others’ eyes. Casilda is a catalyst for the evolution of almost every character in the story. Not only does her character grow in “The Judge’s Wife”, but she is also a medium for the growth of the two other main characters in the story, Judge Hidalgo and Nicolas Vidal.
“A man such as he was never meant to be a husband…” (Allende 1226). Judge Hidalgo is the law of the small town that is the setting for “The Judge’s Wife”. He ruled the town with an iron fist, refusing to “apply and common sense in the exercise of his profession….equally harsh in his condemnation of the theft of a chicken as of a premeditated murder” (Allende 1226). Then Casilda came along. After their marriage, Judge Hidalgo is transformed. He evolves from a heart-less exemplification of superior authority, into a warm, caring father and husband. Though the townspeople do not see this personality transformation first-hand, there is rumor of his behavior. “Though outwardly he remained the same…The Judge was transformed the minute he crossed the threshold at home: that he flung off his gloomy apparel, rollicked with his children, checked as he sat Casilda on his lap” (Allende 1227). But even more than rumor, the townspeople notice a change in the Judge’s ruling. He became fairer, even going so far as not convicting a wife of adultery because her husband had been keeping a mistress. Casilda helps him to become a softer, but not weaker, version of himself. She not only softens his judgments, but also helps...
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