Purgatory is a play written by W. B Yeats. This play deals with the theme of crime. It has a message that crime invite crime one has to break the cycle of crime for complete emancipation.
At the beginning of the play, we find the old man and his son standing in front of the destroyed house. The old man is to relate a story of his past life to his son. The old man says that he was born in a ruined house.
The old man’s mother was a very rich person but his father was a careless, drunker, and stupid person. however, they got married. The old man’s mother dies on the day when he was born. After that, the old man’s father starts drinking, playing cards, flirting with women, and did many other bad things.
One day, when he was drunk burnt the house. The old man was very angry with his father and killed him with the knife, while the house was burning. After that, the old man went away and become a traveling seller.
While the old man is relating this story to the boy, he sees the ghost of his father and mother entering the destroyed house. The old man shouts and requests his mother not to let his father touch her. But the boy doesn’t see anything and it is like a dream to him.
Meanwhile, the boy tries to snatch his father’s bag for the money. The old man sees again the ghost of his father. He kills the boy with his knife. The old man does so, as he believed that by killing his son, he successes to break the chain of violence. If he let his son lives, the son will suddenly commit another crime.
Moreover, the old man does all these to free his mother’s soul from purgatory. It means she can go to heaven. The old man again hears the sound of the ghost’s hooves which symbolized that his mother’s soul still suffering in purgatory.
According to Cristian believes, the dead man’s soul is detained in purgatory. It is detained for some time for the purification of his or her pardonable crime. After the crimes are pardoned the soul goes to heaven.
In this play, the old man believes that the mother’s soul is detained in purgatory. he kills his son to break the cycle of crime. In doing so, the old man believes that he can help his mother’s soul to leave purgatory but it doesn’t happen so.
Additional Information about purgatory summary -W. B Yeats
Purgatory:- In Roman Catholicism, Purgatory is an afterlife stage of the human soul where the soul is detained(stops/wanders) for sometimes to got purification before it enters into heaven/hell.
-People who haven’t done any crimes/sins- Death-Purgatory-heaven.
-People who have done pardonable crimes/sins-Death-Purgatory
-People who have committed unpardonable crimes.
Theme:-Crime invites crime-one should break the chain (series) of violence? crime for complete emancipation (freedom).
(Setting): -A destroyed/ruined house- in front of the house, the old man and the boy are standing.
Old man- The man who kills his father and his son. He wants to release his mother’s soul from purgatory. He also wants to break the cycle of criminal violence.
The boy:-The son of the old man, 16 years old, has a conflict with his father (old man) about the ownership of property.
Ghosts:- The ghosts of the soul of the old man’s father and mother.
1. What happens to the souls of dead ones in purgatory, according to W.B. yeats?
2. What is the old man’s motive in murdering the boy?
3. Why does the old man kill his son?
4. What were the reasons which lead the old man to kill the boy?
5. Why did the old man punish the boy?
6. How does the old man break the cycle of violence?
7. Why does the old man murder the boy?
8. What were the circumstances which made the old man kill the boy?
9. What is the movie of the old man in killing the boy?
10. Discuss the kind of relationship between father and son in the play “Purgatory”?
11. Why does the old man kill the boy?
12. Why did the old man kill his son?
13. What is the old man’s motive in murdering the boy?
14. Explain how “Purgatory” explores the relation of human life to supernatural forces.
15. Why did the old man kill his own son?
16. Why did the old man kill his own son and father? Explain how this drama is connected with religious beliefs.
17. “We are always punished for our sins.” Elaborate on these statements.
18. Sketch the character of the old man.