Video Analysis of the play

Click here to download sample TE Questions>>>


The second unit mainly deals with some important qualities and principles that we should keep in our social relationship. As an individual, we should try our best to co-exist with others. It will help us reach the heights of harmony.


Author: Percival Wilde – 1887-1953

  • Percival Wilde was an American author and playwright who wrote novels and numerous short stories and one-act plays. He also authored a textbook on the theatre arts. Wikipedia
  • Born: March 1, 1887, New York City, New York, United States
  • Died: September 19, 1953, New York City, New York, United States
  • Education: Columbia University
  • Books: Finger of God, Eight Comedies for Little Theatres, more
  • Movies: The Woman in Room 13

Wilde’s plays were especially popular in the Little Theatre Movement.

Aim: to study

  • plot construction
  • characterization
  • Acting and stage setting
  • Stage management of play


  • Study on the corrupting influence of money on people
  • Greed and its effects
  • The good gets reward and the bad gets punishment
  • How easily people forget their morals and values before money


The play takes place in a parlour of a little cottage where a family awaits the return of the head, Mr. Baldwin. Weather is reported – flash of lightening, dark sky (symbols of something not going to be good).


Mr. Robert Baldwin works in the bank of Mr. Gresham who is now in police custody for misappropriation of depositor’s money. He offers Mr. Baldwin, a truthful person, 100000/- dollars as bribe to say three words ‘I don’t remember” at the time of the trial which is going to take place the next day. The reaction to this offer from all other members of his family is the main plot of the play.

Action, Place and Time:

As a one act play, it follows Aristotle’s Poetics, respectively, unity of action, unity of place, and unity of time. Actual time of the story is the time taken to perform the play and the place is a visiting room of a little cottage. And it has a single action.

Characters:From everyday life

1. Mr. Robert Baldwin

Hero of the play – worked with Mr. Gresham, a banker who paid low salary for the last 35 years – a truthful, trustworthy and loyal person – gets an offer of 100,000/- as bribe from his employer, Mr. Gresham who is now in police custody – rejects it – later gets a good position from another bank – never changes mind at the influence of money – virtue gets rewarded – represents old generation of honourable persons.

2. Martha – Mrs. Robert Baldwin

A great support to her husband – changes her mind at prospect of getting a huge amount- money makes changes in her character – even persuades her husband to accept the bribe money offered by Mr. Gresham listing a good number of reasons.

3. Mr. John Gresham Baldwin & Ms. Evie

Children of Mrs. & Mr. Baldwin – in the beginning very stubborn against Mr. Gresham – later change mind – money influences them too – compel their father to accept the bribe money – find every possible excuses for it – no shame on being dishonest – money corrupts the youth very easily – represent present day generation.

3. Mr. John Gresham

Important character of the play but not comes to stage – everything reported about him – a banker in police custody for misappropriation of depositor’s money – offers 100000 dollars to Mr. Baldwin as bribe – confession of guilt before his trial begins – recognizes the virtue of Mr. Baldwin.

Significance of the Title:

Most perfect and suitable title – No special time for truth – the truth wins and bad gets punished – Every hour is the hour of truth.

Message:Ending of the play

Readers become aware of evil effects of money – money has a great influence on people but not on truthful – virtue gets rewarded – God Sees the Truth but Waits (Leo Tolstoy) is true with this story – God waits may be for the confession of the criminal or to test a truthful person to see how far he can be truthful – an apt ending – hero gets a better job – positive message – Bribe may be given better names such as compensation for low salary or a help to children, etc but truth will prevail in the end, it is sure.

Prepared by Thomas a a

Ghss kattoor, thrissur


Percival Wilde’s play “The Hour of Truth” is an intense psychological study. It studies the corrupting influence of money on people. The plot of the play explores greed from different angles. Almost all individuals in this play are tempted by money. This one act play particularly shows how easily people forget their moral values and principles. But at the end of the play the reader realizes that money only brings isolation, punishment, deception, frustration and endless shame. The play brings a positive note when the bad people get punished and the good people get rewarded. We can see the battle between self and society in the character of Mr. Robert Baldwin, the secretary of a bank and the bank president, Mr. John Gresham. 

Mr Baldwin represents an everyday American man. He works hard for a living. His salary is not enough to support his family. When Mr. Gresham, Robert’s boss is accused of misappropriating the bank’s money, everything changes. It hurts the clients of the bank. Mr. Baldwin considered Mr. Gresham as a good boss. When Mr. Gresham was arrested, we lose confidence in his character. Mr Gresham was totally changed with his greed for money. He teaches the readers how badly money influences people. After the arrest, Mr.Gresham begs Mr.Baldwin to say three words at the time of his trial: “I don’t remember”. As a reward he offered him one hundred thousand dollars. It was really a large amount of money.

At this offer, we see how his virtuous family members changed their opinion. When they heard about the bribe, they insisted Robert to tell those three words. Thus we can see how money changes the people’s outlook.

It is at this time we can see the moral level of Mr Baldwin. He rejects the offer. This made Mr Gresham feel ashamed and he was forced to confess his crime. This story ends with a positive note. We see honesty is rewarded in the end. Robert Baldwin’s honesty and integrity brought him a job in another bank. He was proved again as a decent and dignified man. Marshall was impressed by Baldwin’s honesty. The play ends with Marshall offering Baldwin a job in the Third National Bank.


  1. Prepare a character sketch of Mr. Baldwin.
  2. A) Robert Baldwin is the protagonist of this play. He leads a simple life with his wife Martha and his son John and daughter Evie. He is working as the secretary of national bank. He is a man of principles. He is an honest, diligent and hardworking employee. He has been working in the bank for more than 35 years. He keeps a good relationship with his family members. Though he is a middle aged man, he is a man of virtues. He is kind and loyal to others. He is not ready to make any kind of compromise with his morality. When his friend John Gresham was arrested for the misappropriation in bank account, Baldwin was not ready to make any kind of compromise. Baldwin was the only witness. He is not upset when John Gresham offers a bribe of 100000 dollars to say in the court, “I don’t remember”.  It is because of his deep-rooted morality and honesty, he is getting promotion at the Third International.
  3. Prepare a character sketch of John Baldwin.
  4. A) Mr. John Baldwin, son of Mr. Robert Baldwin is a representative of the new generation youth. He is not really a man of principles. His mind is changing according to the circumstances. When the play begins we can see his strong principles of morality. But later he is changing his opinion. His virtue is not deep-rooted.  In the beginning of the play he even suspects his father. But he is powerful and energetic.
  5. Prepare the character sketch of Mr Gresham.
  6. A) Mr. Gresham is the President of a national bank. He is corrupt from the beginning. He is really a true representative of the new American. He has a strong attachment with the money. He misappropriates money from his own bank. His attitude towards money is really selfish. He is ready to do anything for hiding his corrupted nature. He is ready to give and take bribes. But he is changing in the end with the powerful and truthful attitude of his friend John Baldwin. He becomes a new man. This shows that he has a will to be a man of honesty.

Percival Wild’s play,  “The Hour of Truth” is an intense psychological study on the corrupting influence of money on people. The plot of this play analyses the bad trait, ‘greed’ from different points of view. This play shows how easily people forget their morals and values before fortune. This story promotes the theme that the good get rewarded and the bad get punished. The two main characters in this play are Robert Baldwin, the secretary of a powerful bank and his boss Mr.John Gresham, the bank President.

Mr.Baldwin represents an everyday American man who works for a living. But his salary is really insufficient to support his family. All of them hold their views on morality and express hope for the American Dream. The play helps us to think positively when the bad get punished and the good get rewarded.

The entire course of the play changes , when we find out that Mr. Gresham, Robert’s boss is accused of appropriating the bank’s money. This becomes a serious issue and it hurts the clients of the bank. When Mr. Gresham is arrested, we immediately lose confidence in his character. Actually Mr.Gresham was a good boss to Mr. Baldwin. After this incident, readers lose all their love and respect towards Mr. Gresham. They also comprehend the truth how badly money can influence people.

Gresham becomes aware of the seriousness of his crime. For the first time in his life, he thinks crooked ways to escape from this situation. He begs Mr.Baldwin to say three words “I don’t remember” during his examination on trial. As a reward, he offered him one hundred thousand dollars. It was really an amazing amount of money at the time of the story.

It is to be noted that money changes everything except the mind of Mr.Baldwin. It’s surprising to see that even his family changes from being virtuous and respectable. They tempt him and compel him to say just those three words. Yet it is Robert who brings the hope back into the story. He goes above the temptation and and admits courageously he cannot accept a bribe. Mr.Gresham was ashamed by Robert’s action.

The end of the story is positive because of Baldwin’s honesty and integrity of character. This helped him to get a better job in another bank. Mr.Gresham spread out Baldwin’s reputation as a decent and dignified man. He also realized that Robert Baldwin was really a good man. It is interesting to note that the readers become aware of the evil effects of money.  Above all this play highlights  the isolation, punishment, deception, frustration and the possibility of endless shame caused by money. The integrity of character makes our relationship different and that makes all the difference.

5 . A panel discussion is conducted in your School on the topic ‘Corruption in Democracy.’ Given below is an excerpt from the presentation made by a panelist during the panel discussion.

“Corruption is a global threat to development and democratic rule. It diverts public resources to private interests, leaving fewer resources to build schools, hospitals, roads and other public facilities. When development money is diverted to private bank accounts, major infrastructure projects and badly needed human services come to a halt. Corruption also hinders democratic governance by destroying the rule of law, the integrity of institutions, and public trust in leaders.”

Now prepare a brief script for panel discussion by the next panelist highlighting how corruption can be minimized.

  1. A) Good Morning to everyone…… I totally agree with the views of A. Corruption has become a great threat to a democratic country. But we cannot fully overthrow corruption from our society because of the modern world. But we can minimize corruption if strict rules and regulations are laid down. Public resources should be given prime importance than the private interests. Most of the corruption in education sector can be removed by encouraging public schools and colleges. Strict rules should be enforced on private finance companies. Private hospitals should be discouraged and public hospitals should be encouraged. Similarly private firms should be discouraged. It is not possible to measure corruption, but it is possible to measure the perceptions of corruption. Often it is the State that inevitable creates a fertile ground for corruption.The growth of International trade and business has also created a suitable environment for corruption. Among the economic changes in recent times, privatization is the one that has been closely linked with corruption. It is good to note the definition of corruption, ‘It is the abuse of public power for private benefit.’ This is the definition used by the World Bank. From this definition it should not be concluded that corruption cannot exist within private sector activities. It exists in the private activities regulated by the government. Corruption reduces public revenue and increases public spending. It increases income inequality. It is generally believed that increasing the penalties for acts of corruption would reduce a country’s corruption. Corruption cannot be reduced without modifying the way governments operate. The fight against corruption is intimately linked with the reform of the state.To reduce corruption my humble suggestions are 1. Honesty and visible commitment by the leadership to fight against corruption. The leadership must show zero tolerance for it. Reduce the supply of corruption by Increasing  public sector wages, imposing strict penalties and instituting effective controls.
  2. Answer the questions after reading the passage from the play, “The Hour of Truth”.

“I’ve got only a few years to live but I’ll live those as I’ve lived the rest of my life. I’ll go to my grave clean.”

  1. a) Who speaks these words?
  2. A) Robert Baldwin speaks these words.
  3. b) Why does he say so?
  1. A) He says so because he is not ready to make any compromise with his friend and Boss Mr John Gresham. When he mentioned about the bribe to his family, his son John and daughter were surprised. We can see how money changes the people. But John Baldwin is not changing his mind. He wants to lead a life of honesty. He doesn’t consider earthly honours great. He is virtuous and wants to go to his grave clean.

Prepared by Joy Peter C


5 thoughts on “+2 UNIT 2 LESSON 3 THE HOUR OF TRUTH Percial Wilde

  1. what was the association between mr.gresham and baldwin?
    why was evie frightened when gresham sent for her father?
    how did the members of baldwin family react to gresham’s request that baldwin should say “i don’t remember?

    • 1. Mr.Gresham is a banker and Mr. Robert Baldwin is his employee and an old friend who has been working in this bank for last 35 years.
      2. Miss. Evie was frightened because the newspapers said that her father had something in the wrecking of the bank. So she doubted her father.
      3. At first the family stood with Mr. Baldwin against Mr. Gresham, but at the prospect getting a huge amount of money, ie, hundred thousand dollars tempted all except Mr. Baldwin and they made many excuses to say yes to this request.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s