Summary of “The Silver Box”

by • 04/07/2012 • 1st Year EnglishComments (1)6835


John Galsworthy was known as “Social Citric” based on his sincere efforts to restore and uphold moral values in society and dedication to the mission of social reforms. His style is marked with realistic satire and his writings expose areas of corruption and injustice in society. The play “Silver Box” also, like most of his works, contains a bitter criticism of degrading moral values in the contemporary British Society. It shows serious and lamentable violation of justice and humiliation of human values.

The case of the homeless girls is followed by the case of stealing of a Silver Cigarette box from the house of Mr. Bathwick, a member of the British Parliament. The poor maidservant of the house and her husband, Mr. Jones are accused of theft. As the trial begins, it is revealed to the readers that the stolen silver box was discovered from the house of Mr. and Mrs. Jones, through police raid.

One by one, witnesses appear in the witness box to give their statements. They include the butler of Mr. Barthwick, the concerned police officer and Mrs. Jones. In the end, the main accused, Mrs. Jones explains his position but all his arguments prove ineffective and fruitless.

Giving her statement, Mrs. Jones tells the Magistrate that she did not steal the Silver Box from the house of her employer. She believes in doing her job with honesty. She also says that she knows nothing about her husband’s act. She did not help him in any way in the unlawful act of stealing. She only knows that her husband brought the silver box with him under the effect of wine. She supports her husband by saying that he would never do such a thing if he were in his senses. The Magistrate order to release her, as there is no evidence against her.

The play reaches its climax with the statement of Mr. Jones. Mr. Barthwick and his young son, Jack Barthwick some are present in the court. Mr. Barthwick is there to do some underhand activities and influence the Magistrate. The reason is that his son committed a similar type of crime, under the influence of wine. He fears that Mr. Jones will expose the crime of Jack Barthwick.

The jobless drunk and Mr. Jones strongly denies the charge and says that on the night of the incident, the boy Jack Barthwick invited him to have a drink and smoke in his room. Actually, he helped the boy in unlocking the door of his house, as the boy was “drunk as a lord”. He says that midnight meeting Jack offered him to take with him anything he likes. Therefore, he took the silver box from there with the permission of the owner’s son. He says that he is innocent and he must be released.

The Magistrate remains unconvinced. His attitude is certainly unfair and partial. He is either bribed or under the pressure of Mr. Barthwick. It is obvious that he considers Mr. Jones a thief and he is going to punish the poor and helpless fellow.

Realizing the partiality of the Magistrate, poor Mr. Jones becomes emotional and violent. He shouts at the Magistrate and calls him dishonest. He also exposes a similar act committed by Jack Barthwick who stole the purse of a woman on the same night, under the effect of wine. He demands the Magistrate to deal with the rich and the poor alike.

The Magistrate does not take any notice of the protest and demand of Mr. Jones. He ignores the criminal act of Jack Barthwick and sends Mr. Jones to jail for one month. It is quite evident that the Magistrate avoids doing justice to Mr. Jones.


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One Response to Summary of “The Silver Box”

  1. joseph monserratte says:

    thanks. is a very good summary of the silver box

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