In the play "The Hour of Truth" what exactly did Gresham plan to save himself from conviction?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In the play "The Hour of Truth" by Percival Wilde, the character of Gresham asks his employee, Mr. Baldwin, to take a bribe for one hundred thousand dollars in exchange for favorable testimony on his behalf. Gresham has been accused of money laundering, and Mr. Baldwin's testimony (if he says the way that Gresham wishes), could be very beneficial to Gresham. The testimony that Gresham asks for is not too hard for Mr. Baldwin: All he has to do is to say that he does not remember any transactions, calls, or anything taking place the day Gresham was accused of money laundering.

However, just those three words could help Gresham greatly, after all, Mr. Baldwin is aware of every step Mr. Gresham takes. He is not only his employee but also his assistant, and his friend. Mr. Baldwin also enjoys a very sturdy reputation as a serious and dedicated man. A favorable testimony from Mr. Baldwin is the same as a good letter of recommendation.

However, Mr. Baldwin refuses to lie. In fact, he is more than willing to say everything he knows which, fortunately for him, is not a lot. Yet, this takes Mr. Gresham by surprise, and he is so moved by seeing what a good man Mr. Baldwin is, that he chooses to declare and tell the truth.

As a result, Mr. Gresham goes on further recommending Mr. Baldwin to a job in another bank. This is significant because it shows that sticking to good values does pay off in one way to another.

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