“Lather and Nothing Else” is a story written by Hernando Tellez. It revolves around two main characters — the dictator, Captain Torres and the revolutionary, the barber. Captain Torres tends to possess a trait quite unusual for a character like himself. This shows his complexity both as an individual in the story and as a human. Words like violent, ruthless and merciless are what typically describes him. However as the story unfolds, he reveals to have another side of him which is not evident in the beginning. At the beginning of the story, Captain Torres’ manner of entering the shop shows that his character is assertive.
Being the dictator that he is, he manifests a portrayal of a strong and intimidating persona typically possessed by such character. After entering the shop without a single word, he puts his cap and belt with the pistol holster on a hook in the wardrobe and turns to the barber, “It’s hot as the devil. I want a shave.” (1).
This dialogue shows a hint of him being authoritative. He then takes a seat and continues, “…we did very well you know. We caught the leaders. Some of them we brought back dead; others are still alive. But they’ll all be dead soon.
” (1). He exhibits confidence with himself and with what he do knowing he will achieve success and triumph no matter what. Captain Torres, being a dictator is also known to be ruthless. He had punished, and sent people to their deaths.
He plans for every one of his raids to persecute and hunt down rebels. When the barber timidly asks him with, “Are you going to punish all of them?” (2), he briefly replies, “Yes, all of them.” (2). This demonstrates the captain’s lack of compassion to the lives of other people that he had taken and soon will be taking. In the end of the story, Captain Torres unveils that his character is also empathetic. This is quite a contradictory trait but also displays his complexity as a human.
After the barber is done shaving him, he finally admits the real real reason why he came in the first place. Before leaving, he turns to the barber and say, “They told me you would kill me. I came to find out if it was true. But it’s not easy to kill. I know what I am talking about.” (3).
Torres explains how he struggle with taking the lives of other people although the public thinks otherwise. He could have just easily killed the barber in the beginning, yet he didn’t. This surprisingly shows Captain Torres’ ability to also understand the feelings of others making him an interesting multi-faceted character.