ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(1870-1932) was an
actor and a
dramatist, As a
playwright he is
known for the play,
1. The Bishop
2. The Convict
3. Persome, the Bishop's sister
5. Sergeant of Gendarmes
MESSAGE TO READERS
The play ‘The Bishop's Candlesticks’ conveys a
number of messages to the readers. It explains
that empathy is one of the most important
features that a man should possess. Everybody
should be given a second chance just like the
Bishop gave the convict a chance to improve his
life. The play also exemplifies the power of love,
kindness and benevolence in transforming a
person. We should always hate the sin and not
the sinner. Optimism is the key to better
relationships and a well developed society.
THE HUMBLE KITCHEN OF THE BISHOP
The scene opens to show the
kitchen of the Bishop. It is very
simple and humble, yet
substantial. On the mantel
piece, we can see two very
good candlesticks, which seem
oddly out of place in that
kitchen. Persome, the Bishop’s
sister, is laying the cloth on the
table, while Marie, the maid, is
stirring some soup. Persome
scolds Marie because she has
not tended the fire properly and
the soup is not ready yet.
PERSOME IS WORRIED FOR HER BROTHER
It is eleven at night and Persome
is worried for her brother who has
not returned yet. She enquires
with the maid, who tells her that
the Bishop has gone to visit her
mother who is sick. Persome
scolds her for troubling the Bishop
in this manner. Persome is further
angered when she comes to
know that her brother sold the
silver salt-cellars to pay the rent
of a poor old lady. Persome
wonders what would happen to
her brother because all his
savings are gone and his estate is
THE KIND-HEARTED BISHOP RETURNS
As Persome rebukes the maid and sends her off
to wash her hands, the Bishop enters and is
happy to be in the warm comfort of his home.
He orders the maid to go home as it is already
late and offers his comforter because it is cold
outside. Persome is angry with her brother but
still she makes him sit and have the soup. She
criticizes her brother for being too kind to
everyone and warns him that one day
everything will be sold off for the sake of the
people who lie to him about their poverty.
PERSOME'S EXTRAORDINARY LOVE FOR HER
Although Persome disapproves of her
brother’s kindness, yet she loves him so
much that she is willing to excuse him. She
makes him sit at the table and finish his soup
and while going to bed tells him to bless her.
She also makes him promise that he will not
stay up late and tire his eyes. The Bishop
blesses her and after she leaves, settles
down to read.
A CONVICT ENTERS THE BISHOP’S HOUSE
The Bishop is reading a book when a convict
comes behind him and asks for food. He warns
the Bishop that if he talks he will be dead.
Before going to bed Persome had locked the
cupboard, so the Bishop wants to call her but
the convict is not willing to believe him. He
thinks the Bishop would hand him over to the
police. Later, maybe due to hunger, the convict
is forced to trust him. The Bishop calls his sister
and tells her to unlock the cupboard so that he
can give some food to a traveler.
THE CONVICT TELLS HIS STORY
The convict threatens to kill them both if they make a sound and
hungrily eats the food. The wine that he is drinking is affecting
him a little and he starts talking about himself. He informs the
Bishop that he has escaped from prison and talks about how he
was arrested. He had a farm and a home, but his wife became
sick. That yea, he had no money and no food so he stole to buy
food. Alas, he was arrested. He was sentenced to ten years
prison the same night his wife died.
The Bishop’s compassion makes him talk more
The convict starts talking about his prison life. He was beaten and
tortured, which turned him into a devil. He became a beast and
one day, as soon as he got a chance, he escaped. But that too
was like living in hell because he had no money, no passport and
no food. To survive, he started stealing again.
THE CONVICT STEALS AGAIN
The Bishop kindly offers him his couch to rest
for the night but he has other plans as he has
seen the expensive candlesticks. He makes the
Bishop go to his room first so that he can steal
the candlesticks. As soon as the Bishop leaves,
the convict picks up the candlesticks, stoves
them in his pocket and leaves banging the door
behind him. The sound awakens Persome and
she comes inside to see what it is. She calls her
brother as soon as she realises that the
candlesticks are gone. She wants to call the
police but the Bishop stops her from doing so.
THE CONVICT IS CAUGHT
Just then, someone knocks at
the door and a Sergeant enters
with the convict. He informs that
this man was caught moving
suspiciously and they found the
candlesticks with him. The
Bishop tells them to release the
man as he is his friend and the
Bishop himself had given him the
candlesticks. The policemen
leave and the convict has a
change of heart. He tells the
Bishop to bless him and as he is
about to leave, the Bishop gives
him the candlesticks and tells
him to go.
Why was the convict sentenced to ten years
Where does the Sergeant find the convict?
How does the Bishop save the convict?
How does the convict behave with the
Bishop at the beginning of the play?
How does the Bishop deal with the convict?
IX – B
Teacher : Mr. Pradeep
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