William Falder is the main character in the play Justice by John Galsworthy. The plot of the play follows Falder's tribulations as he falls into the unsympathetic and unceasing wheels of the justice system.
Even though it is clear that Falder has committed a crime by falsifying a check, betraying the trust of his employer, he is immediately painted as a sympathetic character. The audience is made to feel for William Falder and his plight. Even though he has committed a crime, his intentions are noble as he hoped to use the money to rescue the love of his life, Ruth Honeywill, from her abusive husband.
The play follows Falder's plight through the courtroom and prison. Galsworthy uses these scenes of the execution of justice to point out the injustices inherent in that very system. Falder suffers greatly in prison. Galsworthy seems to suggest that the degree of Falder's suffering is far out of proportion to the crime he committed. He also uses this as an opportunity to point out the horrid and inhumane conditions of prisons.
Once released, his plight has hardly improved as he has lost Ruth forever and is arrested for failing to report for parole. If Falder is the protagonist of this story, then it is the system of justice itself that serves as the antagonist. This is made all the more poignant when Falder, destroyed by the system, takes his own life.