Character Analysis Hector Malone, Sr.


Malone is even more of a caricature than his son, depicted as he is as a robber-baron in the capitalistic world. It is the Fabian Shaw who comes to the fore in the dramatic characterization here. In his first reported public speech delivered in January 1885, before the Industrial Remuneration Society, Shaw grouped the capitalist speculator with the burglar and the gouging landlord: "all three inflict on community an injury of precisely the same nature."

Malone is described in anything but complimentary terms. He is a man who is "vulgar in his finery"; a "bullet cheeked man with a red complexion, stubby hair, smallish eyes, a hard mouth that folds down at the corners, and a dogged chin"; "he has the self-confidence of one who has made money, and something of the truculence of one who has made it in a brutalizing struggle." In the play, his materialism is specifically shown by his insistence that his son's marriage must "show social profit somewhere." He is the largest shareholder in Mendoza, Ltd., the brigand's enterprise. Understandably, Tanner, himself a benefactor under the capitalistic system and one who cheerfully remarked that he lived by robbing the poor, knows that these two will get along famously.

But Violet calls Malone a romantic and has little difficulty in winning him over to her point of view. In the sense that, as Shaw believed, an individual's frantic pursuit of money and more money is the evasion of true reality, Malone is indeed a romanticist. His obsession that his son marry someone "with a handle to her name" is a manifestation of this form of romanticism.

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