AD's English Literature : Galsworthy's "Justice” : A Problem Play that Satirizes Crime Law and Divorce Law at Force in Then England

Galsworthy's "Justice” : A Problem Play that Satirizes Crime Law and Divorce Law at Force in Then England


No subject of equal social importance has received such thoughtful consideration in recent years as the question of Crime and Punishment. A number of books by able writers, both in Europe and this country discuss this topic from the historic, psychological, and social standpoint, the consensus of opinion being that present penal institutions and our methods of coping with crime have in every respect proved inadequate as well as wasteful. This new attitude toward one of the gravest social wrongs has also found dramatic interpretation in Galsworthy's "Justice.” It is a problem play that satirizes crime law and divorce law at force in then England.


The play opens in the office of James How & Sons, solicitors. The senior clerk, Robert Cokeson, discovers that a check he had issued for nine pounds has been forged to ninety. By elimination, suspicion falls upon William Falder, the junior office clerk. The latter is in love with a married woman, the abused and ill-treated wife of a brutal drunkard. Pressed by his employer, a severe yet not unkindly man, Falder confesses the forgery, pleading the dire necessity of his sweetheart, Ruth Honeywill, with whom he had planned to escape to save her from the unbearable brutality of her husband.Notwithstanding the entreaties of young Walter How, who holds modern ideas, his father, a moral and law-respecting citizen, turns Falder over to the police.


The second act, in the court room, shows Justice in the very process of manufacture. The scene equals in dramatic power and psychological verity the great court scene in "Resurrection." Young Falder, a nervous and rather weakly youth of twenty-three, stands before the bar. Ruth, his faithful sweetheart, full of love and devotion, burns with anxiety to save the young man, whose affection for her has brought about his present predicament. Falder is defended by Lawyer Frome, whose speech to the jury is a masterpiece of social philosophy. He does not attempt to dispute the mere fact that his client had altered the check; and though he pleads temporary aberration in his defense.He pleads with the jury not to turn the weak young man into a criminal by condemning him to prison.


But the chariot of Justice rolls mercilessly on, for--as the learned Judge says--
Judge: “Your counsel has made an attempt to trace your offense back to what he seems to suggest is a defect in the marriage law; he has made an attempt also to show that to punish you with further imprisonment would be unjust. …You will go to penal servitude for three years.”  
Thus the whole episode of judgment and punishment is hoax and inhumane. John Galsworthy , not on by its theme , but also deliberately chose the title Justice in order to satirise the contemporary social and legal systems of the country, which in the name of ‘justice’ forced the helpless individuals like Falder and Ruth to suffer and perish finally in the most inhuman way in a ‘civilised’ society. Ironically it is injustice told in the justice drama.

Ardhendu De

No comments:

Post a Comment

Drop any query, suggestion or comment here.

About Me

My photo

An English Teacher;    M. A.(English) , D. Ed., B. Ed., UGC- NET Qualified

"Dear Readers/ Students, I am a huge fan of books, English Grammar & Literature. I write this blog to instill that passion in you along with the usual strong will  of  earning some money  through  selling ad space. I also feel proud to be in 'free' literature learning initiative because it will be more  easy to get and find you out there . Already thousand posts written and a few thousand healthy discussions made in this blog. And if  you want to contribute in writing or support in money,  you're welcome." 

You Can  Also Buy My Articles @ Teachers Pay Teachers