Machinal Historical Context

Sophie Treadwell
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During the spring of 1927, Treadwell attended the notorious trial of Ruth Snyder and her lover, Judd Gray. Although she did not officially cover the trial as a reporter, her time spent in the courtroom served as the catalyst for Machinal. Snyder was a seemingly harmless housewife from Long Island, and her lover was portrayed as a dim-witted accomplice. Most notably, the trial attracted an amazing public interest and was fueled by hundreds of reporters that where assigned to cover the trial. Every day there was something new about the Snyder-Gray trial in the newspapers. The media frenzy did not cease until the defendants were finally executed by the electric chair in January, 1928. With her execution, Snyder became the first woman executed in New York State in the twentieth century.

Albert Snyder, Ruth's husband, was found beaten, drugged with chloroform, and strangled in his bed...

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This section contains 482 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Machinal Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Machinal from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.