The disease that abruptly ends Mrs. Mallard’s life is not one easily explained. Her many faceted heart condition physically, psychologically and spiritually disabled her to deal with many issues faced throughout her life, hence, her husband supposed death. Perhaps her disease may not have been so fatal if she had not been so emotionally fragile. Her state put a constant stress on the family when decisions had to be made, for example the news of the death of her husband had to be a well thought out plan to ensure Mrs. Mallard’s well-being. The only answer to that problem was just to tell her the news “as gently as possible” (p. 45) and hope and pray she stays strong. This physical weakness was demonstrated, however the emotional aspect of her illness is not yet evident.
Many of the revelations made throughout Mrs. Mallard’s time alone reflect the emotions she felt in the past of feeling trapped and truly did not love her husband. At this point, the physical aspect of her illness gradually became less of a factor as well as a threat to her fragile life. The spirit she had once lost seems to have reappeared after the news of her husband’s death finally sunk in. a sense of freedom and release is felt as she repeats to herself ” Free. Free. Free”(p.46) and “Free. Body and soul free!”(p.47). There is a feeling of a miraculous event that took place at this point, as though she was free of her disease, or cured of it. The fact that no one in the family ever bothered to look past the physical aspect of the illness demonstrates that there really is another side to this so-called heart condition. This heart was not ill, or weakened by some sickness, Mrs. Mallard was suffering of a broken heart, and a confused heart. No doctor can diagnose such an illness because it is not obvious to the human eye, and not known unless the doctor inquires about it. The only cure is Mrs. Mallard’s own sense of closure with the entire issue, which is discovered when she realizes that she did not love her husband always, ” she had only loved him sometimes” (p. 46). The only troubling thought after this revelation was the thought of loneliness in the years to come. After her spirits and emotions are freed she is faced with even more troubling news. Her husband never died, it was simply a case of mistaken identity. The shock became so overwhelming her heart gave out and Mrs. Mallard died.
It is difficult to assume whether she died of happiness or sadness. The news alone was very traumatizing. To a happily married wife the news would end in rejoice, however Mrs. Mallard’s confused heart just ended up in more confusion, and found no more strength to deal with her life anymore. She had all the bottled up emotions surface during this whole ordeal, only to find out that she will no longer be free and so she may have thought her life was simply not worth living any longer.