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“The Lion and the Mouse: A Story of American Life” is a play written by Charles Klein and Arthur Hornblow that premiered on Broadway in 1905.
The play is a complex and multi-layered work that explores the themes of power, wealth, and corruption in American society.
The story centers around the character of James Hazen, a wealthy and powerful man who is often referred to as the “lion” of Wall Street. Hazen is a ruthless businessman who is willing to do whatever it takes to protect his interests, including bribing public officials and manipulating the stock market.
The plot of the play revolves around a young woman named Jane Holden, who is the daughter of one of Hazen’s former business associates. Jane is determined to bring Hazen to justice for his corrupt practices, and she enlists the help of a young lawyer named John Burkett Ryder to do so.
As the story unfolds, we see the various ways in which Hazen’s corruption has affected the lives of those around him. We meet a variety of characters, including politicians, journalists, and financiers, all of whom are connected in some way to Hazen’s web of influence.
One of the key themes of the play is the idea of power and its corrupting influence. Hazen is shown to be a man who has become completely consumed by his own power and wealth, and who is willing to do whatever it takes to maintain his position at the top of the social hierarchy. The play explores the ways in which this kind of power can corrupt even the most well-intentioned individuals, and the toll it takes on those who are caught in its grip.
Another theme that runs throughout the play is the idea of justice and the importance of holding those in power accountable for their actions. Jane is a symbol of this idea, as she refuses to back down in her fight against Hazen, even when it puts her own safety and reputation at risk. Her determination to see justice done is a powerful reminder of the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of overwhelming opposition.
The play is also notable for its depiction of the social and political landscape of early 20th-century America. It provides a window into the world of finance and business during this time period, and shows how the pursuit of wealth and power shaped the lives of those who lived in this era. At the same time, the play is also a commentary on the larger social and political issues of the day, including the rise of industrialization, the growing divide between the rich and the poor, and the increasing influence of big business on American politics.
Overall, “The Lion and the Mouse” is a powerful and thought-provoking play that continues to resonate with audiences today. Its themes of power, corruption, and justice are just as relevant now as they were over a century ago, and its portrayal of the American social and political landscape of the early 20th century is both insightful and illuminating. It is a work of art that reminds us of the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of overwhelming opposition, and the enduring power of justice to transform the world around us.