Little Foxes Analytical Essay

Topics: The Little Foxes, Lillian Hellman, Character Pages: 5 (1975 words) Published: March 16, 2002
Every play written uses dramatic elements. The main dramatic elements are plot, character, theme, and language. Lillian Hellman, who wrote the Little Foxes, incorporates these elements beautifully in her play. The play is set during the spring of 1900 and takes place in the Deep South part of the United States of America. Just as every other play, the Little Foxes has included the dramatic elements in her play, particularly the plot, character, and language that all incorporate an underlying theme of greed.

The character, which includes the physiological and psychological makeup of each person in the play, properly incorporated the greed and oppression of the time. Ben and Oscar are brothers who are possessive, scheming, and greedy individuals. These two characters make the play very interesting. Both brothers' physiological makeup fit the play perfectly. This is because Ben tires to look like a nice guy on the outside but has only one motive that drives his character. This motive is money. He will do anything to get his cotton mill deal to go through. Then there is Oscar. He is also a lot like Ben, but on the surface not as nice. Because of these two characters, the rest of the characters feed of their hatred and ulterior motives. Another character is Leo who is a weak unprincipled son of Oscar and Birdie. This character is not emotionally strong compared to Ben or Oscar, but still has a very well written part. Birdie is then obviously Oscar's wife. Birdie has one of the most complex characters in the whole play. Her psychological make up is very complex. Her character has very quick mood changes and subsequently does not seem like she has much power in the physiological makeup of the whole group. Next, there is Regina, who is married to Horace and a sister of Oscar and Ben. She undoubtedly has the most devious psychological makeup of all the other characters put together. She has a very cold heart towards her husband. This was the most thoroughly created character in the whole play although it was also the most troubled character. Every line that she said was written for a specific purpose and was usually only to help herself. Married to Regina is Horace. Horace's character was a very weak and sick old man. Although his part was written beautifully, he should have been a bit wiser to what Regina was planing. He was almost too stereotypical of an old man to be interesting. For this reason, he became predicable by the end of the play. There were also two servants in the house, whose parts although small, added a real sense of the racial conflict of the time. These characters were perfectly created with their physiological and psychological attributes that added the extra tension for the time. Horace and Regina also had a daughter. Her name was Alexandra. Her character was also built really well, except that she was too passive and did not react as well as she should have while Regina mentally destroyed Horace. Lastly, there is the brief appearance of the character named Mr. Marshall. This character although very small was created extremely well. Just like Ben and Oscar, he had only one thing on his mind. Although his ulterior motive was greed, he hid that very well while he pretended to have a good time making friends with the family. Then when it came down to business, he was very keen and right to the point. Greed.

Not only are the characters created exceptionally well, but the plot of the Little Foxes was also very beautifully planned out and written with the underlying theme of greed showing up throughout it. This is a major strength of the play. This play takes place in a little picturesque home in the South of the US with a prosperous but oppressive family during the spring of 1900. This is where the tension starts to build. The play starts out with a family gathering. The audience finds out at the end of this gathering that Ben's ambition is to erect a cotton mill....
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