Character of Ruth Honeywill: How is She Responsible for Falder’s Death?



John Galsworthy’s Justice has a propaganda basis. While his fiction is concerned principally with English upper middle-class life; his dramas frequently find their themes in this stratum of society, but also often deal, sympathetically, with the economically and socially oppressed and with questions of social justice.  His Justice also has two problems raised and recked in minute details – the rigorous system of legal justice prevailing in the society and the other is the contemporary prison system. To portray these social hindrances Galsworthy has to device a plot. And here is the story of a young man Falder who has been crunched under the wheel of fatal social systems. And the person behind the Falder’s tragic catastrophe is a love and sympathy personified Ruth Honeywill.

Only woman character in Justice:

 In justice Ruth is the only woman character. A married and having two children, she lives a miserable life under a cruel husband who tortures her both physically and mentally. As a woman of destitute she earns sympathy and love from Falder. In fact, in order to take her away from her cruel husband that Falder commits the crime leading to the subsequent incidents of the play.
Ruth Honeywill’s problems as portrayed in the play Justice: Ruth, a destitute woman in order to flee from her cruel tyrannical husband she needs a friend. In facts, by marrying Falder who loves her and promises to rescue her from her cruel husband she would somehow problems are not solved. Falder with the desperation of love commits forgery and later imprisoned. Ruth is forced to lead an inglorious life with her husband in Falder’s prison days. In the end when Falder commits suicides her last ray of hope extinguishes.

Biographical Note: 

The Ruth= Falder relationship is a biographical note regarding Galsworthy’s own life who gets married to a woman who is the wife of his cousins like Ruth who also leads on unhappy life. The kind and sympathetic Galsworthy rescue her and marries her after obtaining divorce. But here in the case the divorcee is not conceived the relationship turns to be tragic.

Ruth’s responsibility behind the death of Falder:

 Apparently, Ruth is wholly responsible for the death of Falder. For it is for the sake of his love for her that Falder committed this crime. To rescue her, again from her cruel husband as soon as possible hastened the crime, because his sympathy for her persuaded him to accept the first opportunity offered to him.
But on further analysis it will be clear that social and legal system of his time was no less responsible for his tragic death. It there were laws for easy divorce or provision for rehabilitation of convicts after their release this tragedy would never have happened. Hence Ruth as well as the special custom and legal system of the day was responsible for the death of Falder.


If it is a tragedy of Falder why not it’s a tragedy of Ruth? If Falder is crunched into deadly system Ruth’s littered hopes, loves and dreams put into account must be a tragedy of equal worth.
Ardhendu De


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