Review : Loyalties – John Galsworthy.

Hostility toward Jews dates to ancient times, perhaps to the beginning of Jewish history. From the days of the Bible until the Roman Empire, Jews were criticized and sometimes punished for their efforts to remain a separate social and religious group – one that refused to adopt the values and the way of life of the non-Jewish societies in which it lived.

The rise of Christianity greatly increased hatred of Jews. They became seen not merely as outsiders but as a people who rejected Jesus and crucified him – despite the fact that the Roman authorities ordered and carried out the crucifixion. By the high middle ages (11th –14th centuries), Jews were widely persecuted as barely human “Christ-killers” and “Devils.” Forced to live in all-Jewish ghettos, they were accused of poisoning rivers and wells during times of disease. Some were tortured and executed for supposedly abducting and killing Christian children to drink their blood or to use to it in baking matzoh – a charge known as the “blood libel.” A large number were forced to convert to Christianity to avoid death, torture, or expulsion, though many secretly practiced Judaism after their conversions.



Writing merely for his own amusement around the age of twenty-eight, John Galsworthy first published a collection of his short stories, From the Four Winds (1897) and the novel Jocelyn (1898) at his own expense and under the fake name of John Sinjohn. After realising that the practice of law was not for him, he published his first novel The Island Pharisees (1904) under his own name, and which in his opinion remained his most important work.

An English novelist and playwright, he won the 1932 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form inThe Forsyte Saga” published between 1906 and 1921 and as a collection in 1922. The second series of novels in the Forsyte roman fleuve would be The White Monkey(1924), The Silver Spoon (1926), and Swan Song (1928). Maid in Waiting (1931),Flowering Wilderness (1932), and Over the River (1933) comprised the third.



 Loyalties is one of the first plays to deal honestly and openly with the problem of anti-Semitism in aristocratic societies. It portrays how people have their loyalties lying in all the wrong places and follow their loyalties instead of fighting for truth and justice. In the first scene of the play a theft takes place in Meldon Court, owned by Mr. Charles Winsor, where a theft has takes place. Ferdinand De Levis reports the theft of his money to Charles Winsor only to realize that his so called friends are more interested in saving their reputation and name in their society than following the right part to find out the truth. This is proven When Charles Winsor hesitates to get the police involved. As the police finally do get called and an investigation is begun, many theories are put forth to try and find out who was the culprit, and when De Levis comes up with a theory of how Captain Ronald Dancy had stolen the money and backs it up with some proof, he is told to keep these accusations to himself, with the use of social blackmail. De Levis agrees to keep quiet until he can prove himself with further proof, but when he realizes that he has been blackballed out of a club, he openly accuses Dancy of the theft in his fury. After a few days full of discussion on the events that took place between De Levis and Dancy, Dancy is finally proved guilty when the stolen notes are recovered and traced back to him. Dancys friends all advise him to leave the city and run away. The play ends with the tragic death of Dancy when he hangs himself to avoid getting arrested.



In my opinion the whole matter was dealt with very poorly and dishonestly. Having a friends back means walking him through his bad times but also pointing out the right part to him and encouraging him to take it, whereas in this story everyone just tries to cover up each other’s tracks instead of helping out in any way, resulting in a lot of misunderstandings, a web of lies, and unnecessary trouble.

Also, they should have helped out De Levis even if their loyalties lay with Dancy as they all knew and in the end were shown that De Levis was the victim and Dancy was indeed guilty. Even if they were not particularly fond of De Levis and he was not meant to be a part of their circle, they should have at least been nice enough to help him out in getting justice.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Basant Kumar
    Jul 08, 2012 @ 08:20:27

    A Salute to the play writer


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