Machinal

by

Sophie Treadwell

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Helen’s secret lover, whom she meets in a speakeasy shortly after giving birth to George’s child. When Helen’s coworker, the telephone girl, takes her to the speakeasy, the two young lovers quickly make a connection. After the telephone girl and her own lover, Mr. Smith, depart, Mr. Roe tells Helen that he was once taken hostage by several Mexican bandits. In order to escape, he explains, he got them drunk, filled a bottle with stones, and clubbed them to death. Though this story frightens Helen, it also seems to excite her, and Mr. Roe’s rugged but affectionate personality entices her, inviting her to ignore her inhibitions. Before taking Helen to his apartment, he tells her about his life as a traveller, waxing poetic about freedom, and though it quickly becomes clear Mr. Roe is a ladies’ man primarily interested in having a casual relationship, Helen falls fully in love with him, returning to his apartment on a regular basis after their first meeting. Unfortunately for her, he appears far less committed to their relationship, which he makes clear by cooperating with the prosecuting lawyers in their effort to prove that Helen murdered George.

Mr. Roe Quotes in Machinal

The Machinal quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Roe or refer to Mr. Roe. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Nick Hern Books edition of Machinal published in 2014.
Episode 6: Intimate Quotes

She comes into the light. She wears a white chemise that might be the tunic of a dancer, and as she comes into the light she fastens about her waist a little skirt. She really wears almost exactly the clothes that women wear now, but the finesse of their cut, and the grace and ease with which she puts them on, must turn this episode of her dressing into a personification, an idealization of a woman clothing herself. All her gestures must be unconscious, innocent, relaxed, sure and full of natural grace. As she sits facing the window pulling on a stocking.

Related Characters: Helen Jones, Mr. Roe
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Machinal LitChart as a printable PDF.
Machinal PDF

Mr. Roe Character Timeline in Machinal

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Roe appears in Machinal. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Episode 5: Prohibited
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
...abortion. At the final table, a man named Mr. Smith sits with his friend Mr. Roe, whom he has promised to introduce to his lover’s friend. Having waited for the two... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Finally, the women arrive to meet Mr. Smith and Mr. Roe, and the audience recognizes them as the telephone girl and Helen. Apparently, Mr. Smith has... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
...convinces the woman, and they leave to go make arrangements. Back at Helen’s table, Mr. Roe keeps talking about his escape from the Mexican bandits. At one point in the conversation,... (full context)
Episode 6: Intimate
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Communication Theme Icon
In Mr. Roe’s dark apartment, the sound of a hand organ in the streets drifts through an open... (full context)
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
The Mechanical World Theme Icon
“I’ll never get—below the Rio Grande—I’ll never get out of here,” Helen says. “Quien sabe,” Roe replies, and Helen’s mood lifts. Mr. Roe then tells her that it’s easy to feel... (full context)
Episode 7: Domestic
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Fragmentation and Expressionism Theme Icon
...sound of a hand organ playing Cielito Lindo begins faintly in the background, and Mr. Roe’s voice can suddenly be heard recounting once again his escape from his Mexican captors. A... (full context)
Episode 8: The Law
Marriage and Gender Inequality Theme Icon
Cutting to the chase, the Lawyer for Prosecution introduces an affidavit signed by Mr. Roe. Though the Lawyer for Defense objects, the judge allows the paper to be introduced, and... (full context)