Death and Dying in "Unto Thee"
The play Unto Thee is a heart-wrenching story of a young couple’s first baby, told through various flashbacks to the pregnancy, scenes at the hospital just after the birth, and the present. May and her husband, Keith, both fervently wished for a child. When their little boy, Jacob, is born prematurely and with severe deformities, Keith begs the doctor and nurse to let him see and hold his long-awaited son. However,when he does, an “indescribable” emotion grips him and he lifts Jacob high over his head then drops him to the floor to end his suffering. The scene shifts to the doctor and nurse discussing who was truly “playing God” and interfering with life and death—the hospital, which hooked the baby up to artificial life support, or the father who ended his child’s suffering. The play concludes with an emotional confrontation as Keith gathers his things to move out and give May space resolving in an embrace when May realizes that Keith is all she has left after the grueling pregnancy and loss of her child.