Helen's Nightmare in the Episode Honeymoon of Machinal by Sophie Treadwell

Categories: BooksLiterature

When I was younger, I used to have nightmares where I would scream out to people and no one could hear me Iwould end up waking myself up from trying to scream, my mouth a gaping hole with no sound coming out of it In Episode Three of Sophie Treadwell‘s Machinal, the young woman, Helen, and her husband are on their honeymoon. Helen’s waking life is like a nightmare where no one can hear her, In Honeymoon, the young woman’s peculiar personality is at its climax, as she acts more strange than she does in the rest of the plays The young woman, Helen, is quiet for once, and it is obvious she is unhappyr Helen feels the most alone in the third episode, Honeymoon, and it is the turning point in her personality This episode sets the scene for what is to come later in the play; an affair and a murden In Honeymoon, the only sound listed is “a small jazz band” (Plays, 195) In every other scene there are multiple sounds listed.

It only makes sense that there is still more noise, and in this scene the background noise happens to be in the form of her husband, Here, her husband is the one who is superfluous.

Get quality help now
Verified writer

Proficient in: Books

4.7 (348)

“ Amazing as always, gave her a week to finish a big assignment and came through way ahead of time. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

He is asking questions and making comments Without an indicator of an awkward silence, it reads like he is constantly talking. The young woman only speaks 139 words in Honeymoon, far less than any other, where she is generally asking a lot of questions and ends up in a tangent In this episode, she is awkward and silent, The most words that the young woman says at one time is “I thought you said there would be a view of the ocean!” (Plays, 196) It is in this moment that the seed of infidelity and manslaughter are planted into her soul Helen is a woman who feels imprisoned in her every day life Her husband is prattling on about how expensive the room was and how long the trip will be, and it is very obvious she is not listening to him.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

She whines, “I thought you said there would be a view of the ocean (Plays, 196) The young woman says this after walking over to the window of the hotel room Did the husband really think there would be a view outside their window, or did he just say that to make her more excited about the honeymoon? Regardless, it worked because seeing the ocean was the only thing she was looking forward to. If she already conveyed the impression of being uncomfortable and awkward before, it only gets worse from there She wanted to see the ocean because it is a symbol of freedom, It is endless and vast, and she just wants to be like the ocean- insuppressible and free Helen realizes that she will not be seeing the ocean, and she is also realizing that her life will only be filled with let downs from then on, Not seeing this symbol of freedom epitomizes the helplessness and restraint that the young woman feels, and foreshadows the time she will spend restrained in prison before she is given the death penalty. She did not feel free when she was supporting her mother. She did not feel free in her marriage with her new husband She will not feel free when she is put into prisoni In that moment, she realizes that she will not feel free for the rest of her life unless she does something to liberate herself, This is what drives her to cheat on her husband, and later kill him. She then reduces herself to one~to~two~word sentences, and her mood worsensi The husband does not notice at all, and keeps filling the space with his words by asking questions, trying to get her to come sit on his lap, and just trying to engage her in any way The young woman is now fully withdrawn from the conversation, and deep in thought with her own internal conversation.

Helen is a woman who feels alone in the universe, At the end of the scene, the young woman changes out of her regular traveling clothes into a simple white gown. The transformation of her appearance symbolizes a transformation in her as she reverts back to a child-like personality of innocence and ignorance, of raw emotion and general fear of the unknown The color white symbolizes innocence and purity, which is also reflected in her posture and facial expression, “She is very still, but her eyes are wide with a curious, helpless, animal terror.” (Plays, 200) She shouts “Ma! Ma! I want my mother!” “I want her now —I want somebodyl” “Somebody — Somebody — ” (Plays, 200) She has spiraled into the thoughts she may have had in her younger years The young woman has hit rock bottom, calling out to anyone who will listen, and the only person who hears her is her scuzzy husband. She has fully reverted and is no longer acting like an adult. At a surface level, the ending of this episode can be interpreted as a rape scene. Although she beckons for help as if she is being attacked, the scene directions do not allude to rape. There is not anything that says he touches her or holds here.

The scene direction is, “Husband: Starts toward her 7 [he] stops.” (Plays, 200) In rape cases, the attacker never stops, no matter how many times the victim screeches for mercy He stops, This is not a rape scene at all; rather it is the petrifying feeling of being in a nightmare where she is constantly screaming out and no one can hear here She feels as if she is alone in the universe, and her husband simply does not understand how to comfort her. She says the same thing in the final episode of the play, Episode Nine: A Machine Her final words before she is electrocuted are “[Calling out] Somebody! Somebod~ [Her voice is cut offl” (Plays, 255) She is calling out for help her whole life In these two scenes, it ends with her calling for help, feeling abandoned and alone, Her personality mirrors that of a child, so she must be reverting to her childhood personality as a way to cope. Helen feels the most alone in the third episode, Honeymoon, and it is the turning point in her personality. It exposes her true personality; a woman who will go to great lengths to feel free, and it exposes her inner child that does not take other people’s thoughts and feelings into consideration. This scene is what plants the seed of infidelity and manslaughter into her soul This is the scene that allows her to be provoked later on in her life. Helen is living a waking nightmare, In the third scene, she realizes that she has been living in a nightmare her whole life, and that there is not anything she can do to wake herself up, She realizes no matter how loud she screams, no one will hear her, and she feels the most alone during a time in her life when she should feel the most loved.

Cite this page

Helen's Nightmare in the Episode Honeymoon of Machinal by Sophie Treadwell. (2022, Jul 07). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/helen-s-nightmare-in-the-episode-honeymoon-of-machinal-by-sophie-treadwell-essay

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment