Literature Study GuidesIncident At VichySympathy From Major Summary

Incident at Vichy | Study Guide

Arthur Miller

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Incident at Vichy | Sympathy from Major | Summary



Major shows signs of sympathy for the group of detained men, and the detainees feel slightly hopeful in response. Major says he is not suited for this assignment. He is a line officer and an engineer rather than an arresting officer. Major needs a break from the detention center. The professor objects to him leaving, and Major convinces the professor that he is only going for a walk and will be back in 10 minutes.


Major is the only man among the arresting officers who feels any sympathy for the men. However, he is not able to act on his sympathy in any concrete way. His sympathy turns to guilt that turns to anger. He is frustrated because the role he has to play does not suit him. He was trained for battle where the enemy is clearly defined. He does not find it uncomfortable to defeat his enemy, but he finds it uncomfortable to arrest these men and send them to an unimaginable fate.

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