The Hour of Truth

Percival Wild’s play, “The Hour of Truth” is a striking psychological study on the corrupting influence of money on people. The plot of this play analyses ‘greed’ from different perspectives. The play shows how easily people forget their morals and values at the prospect of wealth

 John Gresham, the president of a bank is arrested for misappropriation of funds.  Robert Baldwin, his secretary is the only witness against him.  The day before the trial, Gresham offers hundred thousand dollars to Baldwin in order to save him.  Initially the Baldwin family is against Gresham.  But when they come to know about the offer of the huge amount they change their attitude.  They try in various ways to make him accept the money.

The title of the play is very relevant.  Morality, honesty and decency should not be skin deep.  The true worth of a person is understood only when he is confronted with a testing situation.  In honesty and truthfulness there are no half measures.  One is either honest or dishonest.  There are no middle paths.  So each hour is the hour of truth.

Robert Baldwin is a strong character in the play.  He stands for truth in spite of all temptations.  Other members of his family soften their attitude towards Gresham and try to convince Baldwin to accept the offer.  But Baldwin says that he wants to go to his grave clean.  If he accepts this money, he will be a living lie.

The story ends on a positive note.  Gresham confesses his guilt and informs Marshall the President of the Third National Bank about the honesty of Baldwin.  Marshall offers Baldwin a position in his bank.  Baldwin’s principle of sticking to the truth gets rewarded at the end.   The play highlights the importance of integrity of character.

In the text book, the picture provided is that of Oscar Wilde and it is a mistake.

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