(Critical Survey of Literature, Revised Edition)

Though perhaps less widely known and admired than the author’s CRADLE SONG, THE KINGDOM OF GOD is in some respects an even more interesting play. Among its features are a large canvas and the wide range of its characterizations; but the chief source of its appeal is a vital theme, relentlessly pursued through three carefully presented scenes. This theme is illustrated in the career of Sister Gracia; it strongly asserts that mankind must not turn a deaf ear to the sufferings of the unfortunate, that the aged, the sinners, and the orphans make claims on the rest of humanity which can neither be denied nor evaded. The scenes of the play show three stages in Sister Gracia’s devotion to what she considers her duty. She appears first as a girl of nineteen, then as a woman of twenty-nine, and finally as an old woman of seventy. Though the vows of her particular sisterhood are not irrevocable, being renewable annually, she feels bound to her work by unbreakable threads of conscience and consecration. Her moving story is in the Maeterlinckian mold of quiet drama, “the theatre of kindliness,” which made the Spanish stage of the early twentieth century one of international importance.