'The Father' Summary
Captain Adolph, an officer of the cavalry, and his wife, Laura, have a disagreement regarding the education of their daughter Bertha. Laura wants her to stay at home and become an artist, while Adolph wants Bertha to move into town and study to be a teacher. Adolph says that his decision is final, and that the law supports him, because, he points out, the woman sells her rights when she agrees to be married. The argument grows and becomes fierce.
Laura, cunning & manipulative, suggests that Adolph may in fact have no rights in the matter. Laura lies to the family doctor that Adolph may be mad, because, as an amateur scientist, he thinks he has discovered life on another planet by looking through a microscope. Adolph in fact has discovered signs of organic life by studying meteorites through a spectroscope. Laura also reveals to the doctor that she has obtained a letter that Adolph once wrote confessing that he himself feared he might go mad.
Trapped in Laura's web of manipulation, Adolph becomes frustrated and responds with violence — he throws a burning lamp in the direction of his wife as she exits. The moment he does that, he is sunk. He realizes that Laura has cunningly provoked him to commit this irrational act, which then becomes the pretext for having him committed. While waiting for the straitjacket to arrive, the pastor tells Laura she is incredibly strong. "Let me see your hand! Not one incriminating spot of blood to give you away!" he says, "One little innocent murder that the law can't touch; an unconscious crime!" In a scene of intense emotional pathos, it is Margaret, the captain's old nurse, who cajoles the captain, who indeed has now been driven mad, into a straitjacket. Laura is presented as having a stronger will than her husband, who says to her: "You could hypnotize me when I was wide awake, so that I neither saw nor heard, only obeyed." As the captain suffers a stroke and dies, Bertha rushes to her mother, who exclaims, "My child! My own child!" as the pastor says, "Amen".
Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades,...More on August Strindberg
- Select Speed
Arms and the man by George Bernard Shaw
It’s 1885, and Raina’s bourgeois Bulgarian family is caught up in the heady patriotism of their war with Serbia. The beautiful and headstrong Raina ea...
Strange Pages from Family Papers by Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer
The case is related of a woman who, attacked with the smallpox, had this dead hand in bed with her every night for six weeks, and of a poor lad living...
The Flood, L'Inondation by Emile Zola
A well-to-do French farm family is destroyed by a flood. The story, thrilling to the very end, is told from the point of view of the family's 70-year-...
Berenice by Jean Racine
Titus, emperor of Rome, wants to marry Berenice, queen of Palestine, but decides that Rome will not be able to handle having him marry a foreign queen...
Faust II by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Faust is a tragic play in two parts by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, usually known in English as Faust, Part One and Faust, Part Two. Although rarely st...
The Vortex by Noël Coward
It focuses on an ageing beauty who uses affairs with younger men to keep her feeling relevant, and her son (originally played by Coward himself) who...
Ivanov by Anton Chekhov
Ivanov was first performed in 1887, when Fiodor Korsh, owner of the Korsh Theatre in Moscow, commissioned Chekhov to write a comedy. Chekhov, however,...
Hindle Wakes by Stanley Houghton
Hindle Wakes is a stage play by Stanley Houghton written in 1910. It was first performed in 1912.
Trelawny of the Wells by Arthur Wing Pinero
This is the story of a young actress named Rose Trelawny, who struggles to adapt to the changing times of the theatre world in the late 19th century....
The Swan Song by Anton Chekhov
In 'The Swan Song' an aging actor reminisces about his life and the parts he's played. The piece takes a tragic look at ambition and the sacrifices th...
Reviews for The Father
No reviews posted or approved, yet...