Maxim Gorky’s “The Lower Depths” shows the struggle between classes. Unquestionably, its focus is on the lowest of the economically low class people being controlled by the bourgeoisie. It is also a representation of how cruel the society could be towards them and how, in turn, the people are affected by the society.
Although the play talks of the story of low class people –the vagrant, the gambler, the ex-artist, the ex-aristocrat, the prostitute, and so many others, the thief’s character is the best to display the struggle between the classes. Thieves are likely to be wicked, troublesome, and disobedient. However, the thief in the text projects only the wickedness and troublesomeness but is not really disobedient. He is a bit subservient to the whims of their landlady. Though it is true that there are times when he doesn’t want to follow what the woman says, in the end the woman would always find a way to make him do whatever she likes. For instance, when the landlady wanted the thief to kill her husband, the thief refused. And to bring her plans into reality, she beats Natasha –whom the thief cared about. This made the thief furious and he went to confront the landlady but he incidentally killed her husband instead. Aside from this, the fact that the landlady “owned” her sister Natasha made the thief adhere to her caprice. He is always protecting his love and is willing to do everything to spare her from the landlord and the landlady’s injustice. The text embodies how the low class people resist the ideology of those in the higher classes. However, because of circumstances they are in, they end up going along with whatever those in higher classes’ demands.
The lower economic groups are ignored in this text by those higher than them. The mere title of the play is distasteful. The place where the characters live is created and tagged as the lower depths by no other than the society itself. This just means that the society is also the primary reason for the...
References: The Lower Depths. The Continental Drama of Today. Barrett H. Clark. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1914. pp. 55-8. Retrieved from http://www.theatredatabase.com/20th_century/maxim_gorky_002.html
The Lower Depths. The Social Significance of the Modern Drama. Emma Goldman. Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1914. pp. 295-301
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