Act Two Scene Twenty-three

Synopsis of Scene 23

Dysart speaks to Dora and asks her not to visit Alan again. She tells him that she wouldn’t want to, and makes it clear that she is angry with her son and has no sympathy for him. She is afraid that Dysart, as a psychiatrist, will blame her and Frank, as Alan’s parents, but she says that they did their best for their son, and that his behaviour is the work of the devil.

Commentary on Scene 23

God … the Devil: Dora believes that the forces of evil, personified by the devil, have caused Alan to change and become wicked. She tells Dysart that he cannot understand this because he does not know God, and thus cannot understand God’s opposite, the devil.

Investigating scene 23...

  • What is Dora afraid of in this scene?
    • Why does she feel that psychiatrists blame parents?
  • What is further revealed about Alan’s family life through Dora’s speech?
    • Do you think that Alan’s parents should take some of the blame for his behaviour?
  • How do you think Dora’s speech might affect Dysart?
    • How might he be feeling when she leaves?
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