In an immoral place such as that presented in John Patrick Shanleys’ award- winning playwright Doubt, it would be unwise to assume the architect of the play would honor and comfort us with a greater and certain ending of the masterpiece. This brings us to the obvious question of what is certainty and how we can be certain of anything. According to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “There are various kinds of certainty. A belief is psychologically certain when the subject who has it is supremely convinced of its truth.
Certainty in this sense is similar to incorrigibility, which is the property a belief has of being such that the subject is incapable of giving it up. ” If we are directed and instructed by this statement, a reader cannot have a firm grasp on whether Father Flynn did in fact physically abuse the vulnerable, colored character of Donald Muller, living in 1964, surrounded by a rising discontent of the white privileged working class society (also responsible of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. that same year).
However I afforded to be unwise, biased, and by my best judgment, decide (without evidence) Father Flynn did in fact harass Donald. This decision was obvious to me by three subliminal pieces of evidences awarded by the author. The first evidence is the suspicion and the accusations attacking Father Flynn of giving young Donald Muller wine when called to the rectory.
Now, of course Flynn defends himself by disputing Donald drank the wine by himself because of the nerves of being a lonely black boy in 60’s Bronx. However, when confronted with this exclamation by Sister Aloysius, Flynn immediately contracted into a cornered cat, with a sharp, witty defense strategy. “I don’t wish to continue this conversation at all further,” said Father Flynn upon exiting.
Father Flynn says he covered for the boy because he cared, yet the story is immediately made unconvincing when Sister Aloysius grabs a more delicate and experienced grasp on the situation. The symbol of the wine portrays this once glorified saint as a perverse and twisted character.
The logic inserted in the context is the following: if Father Flynn could be corrupted enough to pollute a young, innocent child, he could also be able to take advantage of this boy. The second evidence is the shady character Father Flynn becomes through out the strategic play. In various examples, Father Flynn is slightly shadier of what it would have been expected. The first example of this is seen in metaphorical examples and that is Father Flynns’ noticeably long fingernail. These are first portrayed to the young boys when Flynn is disgusted by the dirtiness in the boys’ fingernails.
This shows Flynn as a man who goes against the culture and the morale of society. The second example is portrayed when Father Flynn outreaches his hand for a young boy named William London and the boy flinches, as if disgusted or terrified. The last example is involving a black crow outside a window that hadn’t stopped snapping all day. Finally, Father Flynn has enough and roars viciously to this bird being shown as an ill-tempered man who masks his emotions to the people. Sister Aloysius made an intelligent and constructed remark, “you’re controlling the expression on your face right now. ”
Towards the end of the play, Sister Aloysius becomes consistent on her accusation towards Father Flynn. She framed each sentence perfectly charging forwards and creating significant pressure on Father Flynn. She rammed with exclamations such as, “I will not stop! ” and “I will find the truth! ” By the end, Flynn had resigned to his post and was expected to take a discreet leave. This, along with his response to the accusations, provoke a clear assumption Flynn is guilty and he knows his days of being considered an innocent, kind man were drawing to an end.
By the end of the play, doubt plays a clear role in the mind of the curious reader. Of course, there is more than one possibility of what might have gone on between the priest and the altar boy. If we were to have a completely objective thought, we would be puzzled and disturbed by the fact that neither one nor the other choice is correct or clear. My personal impression is the one mentioned earlier, yet I am not the omnipresent author of this magnificent story. ? Work on grammar and spelling.