Capitu’s Curiosity: Undecidability and Questions of Gender in Dom Casmurro

  • Marta Peixoto
Part of the New Directions in Latino American Cultures book series (NDLAC)


Marta Peixoto revisits one of Machado’s most emblematic, if not controversial, characters: Capitu. Raising new questions, Peixoto offers a new reading of Capitu’s radically undecidable moral substance, in relation to the position of women on the brink of change in nineteenth-century Brazil. If we read the novel in full awareness of the undecidability of some of its key components, as a literary character, Capitu remains both extremely devious and deceitful and a proper wife, to the extent that her possible villainy is camouflaged as perfect submissiveness. Peixoto places this characterization in the context of Machado’s other female characters, of ideologies of proper female behavior in the nineteenth century, and Machado’s writings concerning education for women, of which he was a proponent.


Female Character Married Life Moral Nature Woman Character Latin American Culture 
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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta Peixoto
    • 1
  1. 1.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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