Act II Summary

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 199

Act II, scene 1 takes place in 1901, at night. Michael has become a very successful writer, and they are now quite wealthy. They have just returned from an evening out at a party, and they begin to bicker and argue. Agnes accuses him of being self-centered, and Michael reveals that he has been having an affair. Agnes responds by hinting that she may also be having an affair. They make up, however, when Michael asks if he can read to her from his most recent writing.

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Act II, scene 2 takes place in 1908, from four A.M. until dawn. Michael has just discovered what he thinks is a bottle of liquor in the bedroom of their son, Robert, who is now seventeen. Michael claims he is going to beat the boy when he returns home. He and Agnes argue; she accuses him of favoring their daughter, while he accuses her of favoring their son. Agnes reveals to Michael that their daughter, Lizzie, is engaged. They then discover that the bottle does not contain alcohol, but cod liver oil, which Michael had poured into it years earlier to hide the fact that he was not swallowing it, as prescribed by his mother.

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Act I Summary

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Act III Summary