Death and the Maiden (2003)Drama, Romance · 6 November 2003
Set to the music of Franz Schubert's string quartet piece in a snow covered central European forest in the 1830s, Death and the Maiden tells the tale of a beautiful young maiden's encounter with the Angel of Death. She comes upon a dark and handsome stranger in the forest dressed in the riding clothes of a nobleman. When he reveals that he is Death, and that it is her soul he has come to take, she is naturally very alarmed. As the story progresses, Death finds himself becoming enamoured with the young maiden, while she, accepting that he must do what he was sent for, takes him back to the cottage she lives in with her grandfather. There she goes to bed for the night, expecting Death to take her away in the night while she is asleep. But Death finds his duty even more difficult as he spends the night with his hostess, watching the sleeping maiden and drinking in her beauty. In the morning the maiden awakes to find she is alone in the cottage, and fearing that Death has taken her grandfather instead, panicks, running out of the cottage. The snow has disappeared and she see Death in the woods crouched over a bare patch of ground that is shaped like a grave, leveling the earth with his hands. Immediately believing it to be the grave of her grandfather, she runs over and begins to dig desperately into the grave with her hands. Death tries to pull her away, but she resists, and after several tries, he eventually gives up and walks away. When she does reach the object that Death has buried there, her relief at what she finds makes us realize it is the wild rabbit that was seen is several scenes earlier in the story. She runs over to the Death and embraces him, kissing him. Death at first does not respond to her kiss, but then gives way to his own bridled passion and they make love. When it is all over, he wills her to close her eyes and when she opens them again, Death is gone and the snow has returned. She wanders around looking for her ethereal lover, but she cannot find him. The story then moves forward several months and we're in the cottage where a baby, tended by it's mother, the maiden, lies in a cradle, and on the mantle piece above the fire place the mother hides a picture she has drawn of the child's father; Death has left behind a life.
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