“Purgatory” is a play by W.B.Yeats. In this drama, there are only two characters: a boy and an old man. The old man is the boy’s father. The boy dislikes the old man. They are standing in front of a burned-out ancient house. The house had been owned by the elderly man’s parents—his wealthy mother and his money-wasting father. The mother had died while giving birth to the old man, and the old man had slain his father when the home burned down. The elderly man believes his mother’s soul is in Purgatory. Also, he thinks she’s continually reliving her wedding night. He tells the boy this.
In W.B. Yeats’s play “Purgatory,” the restlessness of the spirit after death bothers the living beings. Purgatory is the realm or state into which the soul goes after death to be cleansed of pardonable sins before entering heaven. There are two characters in the play: an old man and his son. Aside from that, a dead spirit hangs here and there for his part. The play is concerned with the sorrow of the dead and the consequences of their crimes upon the living. The father of the old man committed a great crime by wasting the property by drinking, destroying the honorable house, and depriving his son (the old man) of education and the inheritance of the property. As a result, the old man, when he was sixteen, murdered his father. In the play, the ruined house is often visited by the remorseful spirits of the old man’s father and mother. The suffering spirit cannot reach heaven because of its crimes and sins.
The groom (the person in charge of the horse) married a wealthy woman, and the pair had a son. The lady dies soon after giving birth to a child, and the groom spends her property by overspending and drinking. When the son becomes 16 years old, he murders his father, who burns the honored house, wastes the property, and makes his son deprived of education and the inheritance (legal rights) of the property. The son is now old, and he has a bastard son (born out of wedlock). The scene of the play is a ruined house with a bare (naked) tree in the background. In the moonlight, the elderly man and his bastard son stand in front of the house.
On the night of the anniversary of the old man’s mother’s wedding night, the old man finds that the suffering spirit visits the house again and again in the ruined house. In addition, the old man sees the ghost of his mother and hears the hoofbeats (the sound of animal feet) of his father’s horse. The youngster sees nothing and accuses his father of being insane. The old guy tells his son about the history of the wrecked house. The child snatches the money bag from the old man and attempts to flee. They compete for the money that has been scattered (spread) around the ground. The youngster threatens to kill the elderly guy. Now the old man is afraid of his son, who has now turned 16 years old. Finally, the old guy fears that his son will follow in his father’s bad footsteps.
The old man decides to stop the polluting tradition, which may last for generations. Meanwhile, the youngster witnesses the spirit of his grandparents and is taken aback. To end all the repercussions, the aged father stabs (kills with a knife) his son to death. In the dark, the bare tree appears “like a pure soul”. The old man at the tree explains why he killed the boy. He wants to put an end to the chain of consequences, the polluted blood, and its consequences. When he bends over to pick up the scattered money, he hears the dead spirit’s hoofbeats again and realizes that the consequence has not ended. He bemoans the fact that he murdered his father and son for no apparent reason. Finally, the old man prays to God to free the tormented soul and calm it.