In the play Loyalties written by John Galsworthy, does Ricardos blackmail Dancy to threaten Dancy's wife?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Ricardos enters in Act III of Loyalties and his appearance is a very brief one, therefore only the slimmest motive and characterization is offered by Galsworthy. Nonetheless, Galsworthy's dramatic technique is so finely honed that it is possible to glean enough understanding to answer your question.

"Does Ricardos blackmail Dancy to threaten his wife?" imples a deliberate motive, an intention, a motive directed toward Mable Dancy. However, in the brief exchange Ricardos has with Twisden and Graviter, he acknowledges, directly and indirectly, two motives. The direct expression of Ricardos' motive is that he wants to see that his daughter has "a settlement [i.e., monetary compensation] to her from this gentleman [Dancy]." Ricardos indirectly acknowledged motive is greed as he says that he has spent all the money on her already except for one note (bank draught legal tender note) that he would use to buy her a necklace:

I have invested it all on her--every penny-except this note, for which I had the purpose to buy her a necklace.

When asked by Graviter and Twisden whether Ricardos was "blackmailing him" and whether he pressed Dancy "for this settlement ... with threats you would tell his wife," his only reply was to shrug and speak of Dancy's honor:

Captain Dancy was a man of honour. He said: "Of course I will do this." I trusted him. And a month later I did remind him, and he gave me this money for her.

This all indicates that Ricardos did not "blackmail Dancy to threaten his wife," although it is probable his reminder ("a month later I did remind him") may have included a mention of the fact that Dancy was trying to protect his wife: "he did not wish to give a cheque because of his marriage." This conclusion is backed up by Graviter's and Twisden's remarks about Ricardos' behavior--with not a word about blackmail charges:

TWISDEN. We can't go on with the case.
GRAVITER. Phew! ...
[...]
GRAVITER ... That man won't talk--he's too scared.

shivamkartik's profile pic

shivamkartik | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Ricardos enters in Act III of Loyalties and his appearance is a very brief one, therefore only the slimmest motive and characterization is offered by Galsworthy. Nonetheless, Galsworthy's dramatic technique is so finely honed that it is possible to glean enough understanding to answer your question.

"Does Ricardos blackmail Dancy to threaten his wife?" imples a deliberate motive, an intention, a motive directed toward Mable Dancy. However, in the brief exchange Ricardos has with Twisden and Graviter, he acknowledges, directly and indirectly, two motives. The direct expression of Ricardos' motive is that he wants to see that his daughter has "a settlement [i.e., monetary compensation] to her from this gentleman [Dancy]." Ricardos indirectly acknowledged motive is greed as he says that he has spent all the money on her already except for one note (bank draught legal tender note) that he would use to buy her a necklace:

I have invested it all on her--every penny-except this note, for which I had the purpose to buy her a necklace.

When asked by Graviter and Twisden whether Ricardos was "blackmailing him" and whether he pressed Dancy "for this settlement ... with threats you would tell his wife," his only reply was to shrug and speak of Dancy's honor:

Captain Dancy was a man of honour. He said: "Of course I will do this." I trusted him. And a month later I did remind him, and he gave me this money for her.

This all indicates that Ricardos did not "blackmail Dancy to threaten his wife," although it is probable his reminder ("a month later I did remind him") may have included a mention of the fact that Dancy was trying to protect his wife: "he did not wish to give a cheque because of his marriage." This conclusion is backed up by Graviter's and Twisden's remarks about Ricardos' behavior--with not a word about blackmail charges:

TWISDEN. We can't go on with the case.
GRAVITER. Phew! ...
[...]
GRAVITER ... That man won't talk--he's too scared.

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