An Character Analysis of Troy Maxon of August Wilson’s Fences






Character analysis of Troy Maxson

This play is divided into two acts where Act One has four scenes while Act Two has one more. The play kicks off on Friday, which happens to be Troy and Bono’s payday. This act displays the character of Troy as quite a social man. They both go to Troy’s house to drink and talk as they always do in their payday. Troy has asked their boss, Mr. Rand the reason behind the denial of the Black employees not being allowed to drive the garbage trucks. Bono has the view that Troy has an affair outside his wedlock. Troy has a wife, Rose, and a son, Cory. Cory has been recruited by a college team to play football. Troy was in the Negro Leagues but never got a chance to play in the Major Leagues for he was already past the age bracket requirement at the time when these leagues started accepting the black players. Troy described his ordeal in July of 1943 when he struggled against death. When they are still drinking, Lyons shows up at the house as he is aware is Troy’s payday. His wife reminds him about the fence she has asked him to build.

Cory and Troy work on the fence. While working on the fence, Cory tells Troy that he already quit his job at the grocery store just because of the football league. This happens because a coach from the Northern Carolina is coming to watch him as he plays. The father is very mad at the son and commands him to get his job as soon as possible.

In Act one, scene four, Troy has won his case and is assigned as the first black driver to drive a garbage truck through the city. Both Bono and Troy look back at their childhood memories and also remembers their fathers too as they were moving from home to the north. Cory is outraged by the fact that Troy has already informed his coach that he might not be available for the football matches. The behavior that Cory showed against his father makes Troy warn him against being harsh with words against his father.

Troy bails his brother out of the jail. As Bono and Troy work on the fence, Bono tells Troy that Rose insists on the fence because she loves his family so much and that she aims at keeping his love very close to her. Troy tells Bono that he has an affair with Alberta. This does not get Bono by surprise but instead tells him that when they finish building the fence, he will buy a refrigerator for his wife, Lucille, which she has asked for in many days. Troy is a sign of a man who is not concerned with the affairs of his family. In many instances, he has to be reminded to pursue his duties. He is much more focused on the affairs that concern him than his wife and son. He later tells his wife that he has an affair outside, and this brings a fight in his family.

Troy, being the protagonist of the play is a responsible man. His thwarted dreams are the driving force that makes him believe in self-developed illusions. He starts the play by entertaining Bono and Rose in an epic story of his struggle with a personified death character. This is a sign of his ability to live in the fictitious world when he tries to defy with Bono on the issue of having an extramarital affair with Alberta. This play is largely Troy’s story and his daily matters in life.

Whatever all the play characters have with the main protagonist is a complicated relationship with him. In this play, the characters are responsible for creating both small and large conflicts with each other. Troy takes for conflict as a result of his ability to believe in self-created illusions as well as his inability to accept others choices in life when they fail to agree with his life philosophy. His wife normally contradicts his stories about himself with whatever happened in the past. Troy is an individual who is very much against other people’s opinions. This is displayed by his defiance with Lyon’s decisions to become a musician as well as Cory’s to become a footballer at the college level. She does not even spare his wife’s habit of playing the numbers.

His last name, Maxson is an amalgamation of Mason and Dixon, and this is after the Mason-Dixon Line, and this is then the name of the imaginary line that stood as the separation line between States and the Free States. His name suggests an individual who lives on a point or rather a line that divides between two opposing ideas. His history is actually in two equal parts southern and northern. In short, his life is characterized by half-full of hope and also half-filled with disappointments. For instance, he was once at the top of a very enticing and exciting football career that never came to materialize since the chances died while he was at the transitional age.

Troy was a son of an unsuccessful sharecropper. He provides a link to the Maxson family in the south and the effects slavery had and still continues to have on the black generations, being one of them. Troy’s duality divides the line between him and his sons, Lyons, and Cory, who grew up in the world of their believing that they could be whatever they wanted to become. Troy takes much after his forefather believes that the family members must stick to whatever their elders advise them to be. The south and the north are what defines Troy’s life, and this is to mean that he has got no reliable stance in his life. His character serves as the family grit. This is a position in the African cultures whose main aim was to define the context of their loved ones in the family history.

Troy is a hypocrite. He is so much of the idea that his loved ones, his wife, and children, live the life that is practical and responsible. This is quite contradictive since he affords for himself to have an extramarital affair. He is also a rebel against racists’ practices of his employers. To magnify this feature, Troy protests on the limitation of the black workers to drive the garbage trucks. Troy is a very indifferent person for he refuses to see the world on the way is presented to him as and instead dictates his life to take that stream created by his perceptions on what the world is.

Troy is a tragic-hero. At the beginning of the story, he is a very adorable character, but as time goes by, the love on him by other slowly fades off. When he dies, his death leaves many negative attributes as an inheritance to his family.

Troy is a pitiful and caring man. He is very much determined to get his brother, Gabriel, out of the prison. He has already arranged bail for him, and he sees the whole case as a success. On this instance, he does not want his brother to stay in the prison, and that is why he has organized a bail for him.

Despite the fact that Troy is a family man, he is the disloyal and immoral man. He is also disrespectful to his wife and children. His family should come first before anything else, and it is the affair with Alberta which makes him lose his authority over his family.
















Works cited

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Wilson, August. Fences. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2007. Print.


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Wilson, August. Fences: A Play. New York: New American Library, 1986. Print.

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Menson-Furr, Ladrica C. August Wilson’s Fences. London: Continuum, 2008. Internet resource.

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Wilson, August. “Fences: A Play in Two Acts.” Best Plays of 1986-1987. (1988). Print.

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“Books & Culture August Wilson’s “Fences” and Race on Broadway.”America. 202.20 (2010): 21. Print.

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Davis, A.R. “Wrestling Jacob in the Book of Genesis and August Wilson’s Fences.”Literature and Theology. 29.1 (2015): 47-65. Print.

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