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The Incident at Vichy is a play written by Arthur Miller about a group of prisoners imprisoned by the Nazis in Vichy, France. The future of inmates remains unclear, and they are unsure what will happen to them. The play explores several subjects, including human nature, complicity, dread, guiltiness, racial injustice, and inequality. The author reveals the key reasons that contributed to the Nazis' achievement in perpetrating the Holocaust. It may be argued that injustice is commonly manifested, and various characters in the play face various kinds of oppression. The detainees face oppression as they are captured and locked up by the Nazis. The Germany Army does not explain why they have carried out the detention to the victims. As a result, the detainees try to figure out why they are in prison through a discussion amongst themselves. The detainees are in a state of denial and most of them claim they have done nothing wrong to warrant an arrest. They see the act as a form of oppression by the German military government. The prisoners do not come to a consensus about why they are detained and instead unveil means of escaping from the prison (Miller 13). Each prisoner has a desire to flee and proposes own preferred escape plan. However, the detainees are oppressed by fear. They fear that they might be captured in the process of escaping and killed. Through oppression, the Nazis managed to perpetuate the Holocaust as there no strong opposition to their activities.
The Jews are oppressed by the soldiers of the Nazi Germany on ethnic grounds. The Jews are hated by the Germans due to their race. Thousands of Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis while others were detained and put in concentration camps. The killing of the Jews took place during the Holocaust, and featuring the theme of oppression in the play stood to condemn such heinous acts. Similar to the detainees at the prison, Jews do not understand when their oppression by the Nazi Germany will come to an end. Although Jews were killed in large numbers, the remnants continued to endure the racial oppression (Miller 18). At the concentration camps, the captured Jews were subjected to torture and hard labor. They were given insufficient food hence a majority were malnourished. The detainees at the concentration camps did not undergo special medical treatment and most of them succumbed to death due to diseases.
The system of government run by the Nazis is oppressive even to its servants. Some of the army officers are against the oppression of prisoners and capturing of people without a cause. For instance, the Major puts up an argument with the professor about the interrogation methods they use against the detained. The Major feels that some of the interrogation methods should not be used as they inflict unnecessary pain on the victims (Miller 28). Besides, the Major is willing to assist the detainees to escape from the detention center. According to the Major, there will be no human beings in the future as the system of government will have rendered them insignificant.
In conclusion, different characters such as the detainees, the Jews, and the Major face oppression as revealed in the play. The detainees are captured without cause and locked up while the Jews are killed due to their race. The system of government oppresses the Major as he does not approve of how detainees are interrogated and wish to assist them to escape from the prison.
Miller, Arthur. Incident at Vichy: a play. Vol. 3. Dramatists Play Service Inc, (1966): 1-89.
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