CULTURAL AND INTELLECTUAL EXPERIENCE
The time period the play was set in was during the early 1900s when factory worker's safety mattered not and child labor laws did not exist. The play was set in a large city with many factories. One of the major issues in the play was the wealthy's view on poverty. Those who lived in poverty lead the most humble lives filled with hardship. The rich only read of books on the subject of poverty and seemingly gained amusement from the dirty factories that these people were forced to work in. The rich in the play had no empathy for those who happened to be less fortunate than themselves, having not been born with a silver spoon in hand. My view on the subject is still much the same as before the play. Many wealthy people seem to have the mindset that people with less capital did not work hard enough to get it (even though most wealth comes from old money, but that is another story) rather than that they just happen to live in unfortunate circumstances. The play simply reaffirmed my belief that that is a problem in today's society. This belief has a very direct relationship to my life right now. I was born into a family that lived paycheck to paycheck with no real way of advancing economically. The fact that that is where I was born is not my fault (not that I regret it, I will always remember where I am from and love my family). To say that I was born into that because I deserve it is absurd in my opinion.
The main character is given an opportunity to move forward in life from his family. They make many sacrifices to put him through priest school. To repay them, he steals expensive property. His kid brother disagreed with stealing and told him to return the stolen good immediately. This gives him an opportunity of katharsis. He has to look at himself and ask is he a good person for committing a crime to better his family's life? Maybe, maybe not. But whether or not he is a good person is besides the point, he had to look at himself and decide if he was a good person. This scene in the performance also allows the audience members to do the same. I, and I'm sure others in the audience, thought about whether he was in the right to steal the goods. After much deliberation, some decided that he was in the wrong and some, myself included, said he was in the right. "Was it ok to cheat on that test?", "Was it wrong to lie to a friend", "Was I in the wrong when I punched that man?". We all make decisions that may not be the best but at the end of the day the decisions are our own and we are going to have to live with that. We can either regret our decisions forever or understand it was a bad choice and move forward with life. The play gave us a little taste of some of the katharsis that is a part of everyone's lives.
In conclusion, I did not think I was going to like the play. After watching it, I have come to love performance and hope to see more and more of them in the future!