Moral criticism is a form of literary analysis that focuses on the ethical and moral implications of a work of literature. This approach is often associated with the philosopher Plato, who believed that literature should teach piety and virtue, and should be uplifting to society. In the case of Alice Dunbar-Nelson’s play “Mine Eyes Have Seen,” it is difficult to say whether the work exemplifies moral criticism or defies it. On one hand, the play could be seen as depicting the lowest strata of human behavior, which might be considered corrupting to citizens. On the other hand, the play could also be seen as holding a mirror up to nature, showing the harsh realities of society and the struggles of marginalized individuals. A case can be made for both. Although I believe the latter, we see the true nature of humanity and its dire need for justice when the injustice arrives. Is depiction of evil/injustice in it of itself wrong? Or could it help to push the reader to further grasp the consequences it could have on the second party. Or in this instance the marginalized group in the play “Mine Eyes Have Seen”.
Ultimately, the interpretation of the play’s moral implications will depend on the individual reader and their own personal values and beliefs. Some may see the play as upholding Plato’s vision of literature as a teaching tool for virtue and piety, while others may see it as defying this vision by depicting the harsh realities of life. In either case, the play is likely to spark debate and discussion about the role of literature in shaping our understanding of ethics and morality.