Further Critical Evaluation of the Work
The warm color, delicate shading, beautiful form, and deep philosophy of Martínez Sierra’s dramatic craft is evident in THE KINGDOM OF GOD. This play presents Martínez Sierra’s philosophy of practical Christian charity, wherein religion is expressed through treating even the least of men as Christian brothers. Such treatment is needed even more by evil men than by good men, the play’s theme indicates, for such men are innately weak and naturally capable of only minor amounts of grace. Social significance is given to charity in an apostolic and almost revolutionary sense, for Sister Gracia gives her life to unfortunate waifs and old men, even though some of them are incorrigible.
The play also presents the Biblical theme that God’s kingdom will come at the end of the New Testament age, the end of which mankind could now be approaching, and that humans should work toward its early implementation. Sister Gracia therefore consoles her children in the final scene, admonishing them to work—ignoring all discouragement and suffering—so that the kingdom of the Lord’s Prayer will come more speedily to anguished mankind. Sister Gracia’s charity also links the three separate acts of the play. Her service to the charitable order of Saint Vincent de Paul reflects her faith in human beings, and Martínez Sierra’s conviction that women represent life’s nobler instincts. Although some critics allege that THE KINGDOM OF GOD is coated with sugary sentimentality, the play obviously does not merit such reproof when judged by Spanish rather than by Anglo-American standards.