Can’t you see her that night? Alone! Alo...


Billy Flynn

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Can’t you see her that night? Alone! Alone! With only God and that— body. . . . (Pause.) You and I have never killed, gentlemen; we do not know the agony of that hour; we can only guess the mad regret, the bitter reproach, the torture, the hell (he grinds it out like a minister) she lived through then. The soul’s Gethsemane. Alone. (Roxie droops in the approved manner —the Jury gives her a glance of sympathy, then is back with Flynn.) And into this sacred room rush the police. (He snarls an imitation of Murvock and grasps an imaginary arm—Roxie studies her wrist. ) “Why did you kill him? Come on now, yuh’d better tell!” Threats. Physical violence. ... And the worthy State’s Attorney! (Sarcasm) With his kindness, his promises: (Imitates Harrison with a husky whisper) “Come clean and I’ll help you! Come clean and I’ll get you off!” (Roxie follows, nodding eagerly, with a look of reproach at Harrison.) Frightened, hysterical, the girl breaks down. She does confess. Dazed and bewildered she says “‘yes” to whatever they ask her... . (Jakes statement from Court STENOGRAPHER.) Do you believe, gentlemen, that’s a word-for-word confession he read you? Of course not! No human being could have made such a deliberate, coherent statement—certainly not this delicate, frightened girl. . . . No, there was careful selection; a bit here (Lifts out morsels from the air)—a bit there—an addition, deletions—anything to build up his case! (He’s hoarsely confidential.) He’s got to bring home a conviction or LOSE HIS JOB! (All eyes are turned in scorn toward Harrison, who slinks down with eyes downcast.) And then he read it to you: malicious twist of meaning. . . . (Reads as Harrison read in former scene:)
“...but. he didn’t get that far…
.“Question: ‘Why not?’”
“Answer: ‘Because, by God, I shot him.’”
That’s the way he read it to you, ain’t it!
(Jury looks grieved—it’s true; he flings the paper on table.)
He would have you believe, gentlemen, that child sitting there (
Roxie lifts her head—the picture of girlish innocence) swore. (He is shocked—as the Jury was that morning.) Those were her words, yes, but Ah! what a different meaning! This beast, this drunken brute, who had forced his way into her home—and remember, gentlemen, if she had shot him down then, the law would have upheld her!— was coming toward her, threatening her life... (Breaks off and resumes in melancholy tone.) What was the future to her? Crushed, betrayed, broken- hearted. . . . Nothing—less than nothing. But the little life that fluttered beneath her heart—(zaps his fountain-pen pocket)—ah! mother-love stirred within her . . . and those words were a tribute to her Omnipotent Maker who stood by in her hour of need: (He brings it out with ministerial reverence— Roxie’s gaze is directed heavenward and her hands clasped to her heart in prayer.) “By cop I shot him.”
(Jury looks relieved—effective pause while little Eva does her stuff. He goes on quietly.)
I’m sorry she loved as she did. I’m sorry this monster preyed upon her innocence—I wish he had never entered that happy little home. If sorrow could avail
(he warms up
) Fred Casely would be here now, for she’d give her life and gladly to bring the dead man back! (Roxie nods in ecstatic confirmation and begins enthusiastic pantomime.) But we can’t do that, gentlemen. (
Melancholy.) You may take her life as the State asks, but it won’t bring Casely back. (Gives Roxie a fixed look. She recalls her cue and starts moaning and sobbing.) And for what purpose? To protect society? (His voice rings out.) Do you fear that weeping girl? (Finger darts to the tailor) Do you? (To the hard-boiled egg in the corner.
) Do you? (They don’t—he continues.) For her reformation? She learned her lesson, gentlemen, in that dark hour alone. For punishment? My God, she’s punished enough! No—none of these! But to satisfy the greedy ambition of the prosecution! Prosecution? No, persecution! You are asked for a life, gentlemen—(he turns in exasperation at the loudness of Roxie’s wails, and gives her a signal for quiet, which she sublimely ignores; he raises his voice to a shriek in the effort to drown her) by one who would climb to fame on dead bodies! (Pause, filled with her sobs, almost howls.) We can’t give her happiness—(the Jury is with her) no, it is too late for that. Betrayed, crushed, we can only let her pick up the broken fragments of life, the tangled threads—(she’s supposed to quiver her lip, but instead she rises, staggers toward the Jury with outstretched hands.)—we can give her another chance! (She totters, gives a wild shriek, and falls in a dead faint by his side. Grand confusion, and she’s carried out. He turns to Judge)| We rest, your honor; you may give the case to the Jury.

Maurine Watkins. Chicago. Alfred A. Knopf, 1926. pp.104-106

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All monologues are property and copyright of their owners. Monologues are presented on StageAgent for educational purposes only.

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