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Little Foxes Analytical Essay

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Every play written uses dramatic elements. The main dramatic elements are plot, character, theme, and language. Lillian Hellman, who wrote the Little Foxes, incorporates these elements beautifully in her play. The play is set during the spring of 1900 and takes place in the Deep South part of the United States of America. Just as every other play, the Little Foxes has included the dramatic elements in her play, particularly the plot, character, and language that all incorporate an underlying theme of greed.

     The character, which includes the physiological and psychological makeup of each person in the play, properly incorporated the greed and oppression of the time. Ben and Oscar are brothers who are possessive, scheming, and greedy individuals. These two characters make the play very interesting. Both brothers’ physiological makeup fit the play perfectly. This is because Ben tires to look like a nice guy on the outside but has only one motive that drives his character. This motive is money. He will do anything to get his cotton mill deal to go through. Then there is Oscar. He is also a lot like Ben, but on the surface not as nice. Because of these two characters, the rest of the characters feed of their hatred and ulterior motives. Another character is Leo who is a weak unprincipled son of Oscar and Birdie. This character is not emotionally strong compared to Ben or Oscar, but still has a very well written part. Birdie is then obviously Oscar’s wife. Birdie has one of the most complex characters in the whole play. Her psychological make up is very complex. Her character has very quick mood changes and subsequently does not seem like she has much power in the physiological makeup of the whole group. Next, there is Regina, who is married to Horace and a sister of Oscar and Ben. She undoubtedly has the most devious psychological makeup of all the other characters put together. She has a very cold heart towards her husband. This was the most thoroughly created character in the whole play although it was also the most troubled character. Every line that she said was written for a specific purpose and was usually only to help herself. Married to Regina is Horace. Horace’s character was a very weak and sick old man. Although his part was written beautifully, he should have been a bit wiser to what Regina was planing. He was almos...


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...ay. The spoken language was written with a southern accent which was also very well done. All the characters also speak in their different social class styles. For example, the servants speak with very poor grammar and then on the other hand, Ben or Mr. Marshall speak in a very dignified manner. Besides the spoken language, the play has many written stage direction which almost all highlight the characters’ ideas. Since though there are so many stage directions though, one has to be careful to make sure that they all further and enhance the plot of the play. The intentions and meanings of the language also came through exceptionally clear. From the very beginning of the play, the reader knows exactly what every character’s ulterior motive is and almost every character has one. Because of the very clear character makeup, this enhances all themes, meanings, and intentions of the play and characters.

Lillian Hellman, who wrote The Little Foxes, does a brilliant job of using the main dramatic elements in her play. Although there are a few weaknesses in the dramatic elements, there are not nearly enough to hinder the brilliance of the character, plot, theme, and language of the play.


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