Progress by St. John Greer Ervine
“Progress” by St. John Greer Ervine is a powerful anti-war play. It presents professor Corrie talking excitedly about his destructive bomb to his sister Mrs. Meldon, who has recently lost her only son in war.
Professor Corrie is busy with his experiment. He is happy and proud as his experiment has proved a success. His sister Mrs. Meldon is grief – stricken as she has lost her only son Eddie in the First World War. She lost her husband also in the war. Corrie advises her not to think about the past.
Corrie rejoices over his invention as it can destroy a vast city in a few seconds. He says that his invention will make war in future over in a few hours. He is also proud that the success of the war will depend on who strikes first and what kind of weapons he uses.
Mrs. Meldon gently reminds him that his invention will lead to the death of hundreds of young men like her son Eddie. But he ignores her words and gloats over his invention and the fame and wealth. He says that he will sell his bomb to the government which grants him the highest amount of money.
When Mrs. Meldon is convinced that her brother will not suppress his invention at any cost, she decides to do away with him along with his invention. She destroys the sheets of paper on which Corrie has written the formulae. But Corrie is not upset. He says that the formulae remain embedded in his brain and he can reproduce them easily.
Mrs. Meldon cannot tolerate his inhumanity any more. When he stoops to pick up the sheets, she stabs him on the back with a knife and kills him. She feels that this is justifiable revenge against the murderer of her son on the occasion of his death anniversary.