REGARDING THE PASSAGE:
The novelette “Progress” appears to be a catching one-act play of its kind. Revolving around the two people, Professor Henry Corrie and his sister Mrs. Meldon, the story gives a brilliant emotional and sentimental- though a bit unbelievable- view of human practices of good and evil.
A SELFISH FIGURE
Professor Corrie is an extremely selfish and self-willed person. He is out and out a materialist. He has discovered the formula of the bomb to earn fame and fortune. He is delighted at the thought that his invention would make him famous and well-known all over the world. He did not care about the feeling of his sister wanted her rejoices his invention. He wished her to forget her tragedy and suggested taking a broad point of view. She must imagine herself a statesman. He said:
“Oh, a mother’s feelings, of course, but look at the matter from a broad point of view. Put you own feelings aside.”
A Wicked Person
He felt pleasure in destruction. He wanted to make the wars horrible. He invented a dangerous bomb full of corrosive gas, which could obliterate whole cities within no time. He wished to make the war so horrible that no nation will engage in one unless absolutely driven to it. He said:
“With a single bomb, we could wipe out the population of a city as a big as Manchestar.”
As A Reputed Scientist
There is no doubt that Professor Corrie is a great scientist, who is extremely dedicated and devoted in his scientific experiments. When the curtain goes up, we find Professor Corrie engrossed in his experiment. His experiment is a success and he has succeeded in inventing a lethal and devastating bomb, which is so powerful that according to him:
“I’ve discovered a combination of explosives and gases that will obliterate thousands at once! Thousands.”
The above quoted words show the deep faith Corrie has in the destructive quality of the bomb and his cruel nature and inhuman behavior.
As An Unpatriotic Person
Professor Corrie is crazy and unpatriotic. He wants to sell the formula of the bomb, to any government, which would pay him the highest price. As he says:
“I shall offer it first to the British Government, of course, but if they won’t pay my price, I shall offer it to somebody else.”
The above lines speak of his unpatriotism and greed for money.
As A Cruel And Heartless Person
Professor Corrie possesses a very cruel disposition. His eyes reflect the coldness and seriousness of his character. He is a devil in human form. To him human beings are of no consequence. Even his sister, Mrs. Meldon’s grief has no effect on him. Although he is aware that his sister is emotionally shattered by the death of her son, Eddie, yet he does not comfort or console her, at her tragic loss.
As An Enemy of Women
Professor Corrie is cynical about women and has a poor opinion of them. He thinks that women lack in concentration and have a fussy and talkative nature. That is why they are not very often crowned with success. According to him:
“Your sex is most extraordinary, Charlotte. Always willing to break off things, for other things. No application, no concentration, no capability for complete impersonal devotion.”
Corrie’s Desire For Immortality
Corrie was mad for immortality. That is why he invented the bomb. He hopes:
“This will bring fame and fortune to me. I shall be rich and now but more than that I shall be famous. My name will live forever.”
Corrie’s Tragic End
Mrs. Meldon is absolutely horrified, when she learns of his terrible invention. She repeatedly requested him to destroy the formula of the bomb. She says:
“Henry, I beg you to destroy your invention.”
Professor Corrie pays no attention to her, so Mrs. Meldon, in a state of frenzy, drove a sharp knife in his back. Corrie falls on his face, dead cold. Thus the curtain draws on the play, with his tragic end.