Justify the title of the play Loyalties by John Galsworthy.

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hello! You asked about justifying the title of the play Loyalties by John Galsworthy.

On the surface, this play appears to be a straightforward commentary about bigotry; however, the competing "loyalties" jockeying for preeminence in the story are the real conflict within Loyalties.

In the play, De Levin is viewed as a Jewish usurper who wants to gain membership in the Jockey Club, an exclusive organization frequented by the wealthy set. He is invited to Meldon Court, the country home of Charles Winsor. While there, he finds himself robbed of almost one thousand pounds. Winsor is equal parts outraged and humiliated: surely de Levin is not suggesting that any of his guests or servants are responsible?

The rest of the play focuses on de Levin's quest to find the culprit and the other characters' struggles to reconcile their traditional loyalties with the truth.

1) Captain Dancy is the culprit. He gambles on the loyalty of his wealthy friends to see him through his trouble.

2) Mabel Dancy is unabashedly loyal to her husband.

MABEL. Whatever happens, I'll go on loving you. If it's prison—I'll wait. Do you understand? I don't care what you did—I don't care! I'm just the same. I will be just the same when you come back to me.

3) Winsor, the owner of Meldon Court, is the host. He is loyal to conventional traditions and considers de Levin a young Jewish upstart. His loyalties blind him to any possible guilt on the part of any of his favored guests.

4) General Canynge is loyal to the image and reputation of the Army. He tells Dancy that he has written a letter to a friend at the Spanish War Office. He advises Dancy that he may aid in the war effort to avoid the stench of scandal.

5) Jacob Twisden, Captain Dancy's lawyer is loyal to the truth. He advises Dancy to drop the suit when he discovers that Dancy is guilty. When he is accused by Major Colford of being disloyal to a member of their set, Twisden is adamant that loyalty to duty comes before all else.

COLFORD. What? [With emotion] If it were my own brother, I couldn't feel it more. But—damn it! What right had that fellow to chuck up the case—without letting him know, too. I came down with Dancy this morning, and he knew nothing about it.

TWISDEN. [Coldly] That was unfortunately unavoidable.

COLFORD. Guilty or not, you ought to have stuck to him—it's not playing the game, Mr Twisden.

TWISDEN. You must allow me to judge where my duty lay, in a very hard case.

So, you can see that the story is focused on competing loyalties, an apt name for the play. Thanks for the question!

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