The Trials of Brother Jero

The Trials of Brother Jero Summary and Analysis of Scene 4


Scene 4 opens in front of Jero's home later that day -- Amope has been waiting there during the aforementioned plot. Chume is finishing his meal, complimenting Amope, who has still found something to complain to Chume about: In this instance, she claims he has not brought her any clean water. Emboldened by his previous conversation with Jero, Chume insists that he did not forget the water, saying, "I just did not bring it." He then orders Amope to pack up and says they are returning home. Skeptical of his motives, Amope accuses Chume of being drunk. She refuses to leave, saying she will not pack until she has received the money she is owed. She continues to protest, arguing that Chume's small salary alone is not enough to support her, as Chume packs up and prepares for departure. Even Sanitary Inspector would be a better job, she insists.

To this, Chume replies starkly, "Shut your big mouth!" Amope is astonished, and challenges Chume to continue his aggression. He replies that his "period of abstinence is over" and that his "cross has been lifted off my shoulders by the prophet."

Amope is now genuinely concerned, believing that Chume has gone mad. She, too, turns to God, begging for help. Chume orders her to get on the bike, but she refuses in fear, saying that she will find her own way home. Chume approaches her as she tries to back away, and she runs back toward the prophet's home, banging on the door and crying to be let in. Inside, Jero simply puts his fingers in his ears and mutters, "Blasphemy!"

Chume lifts Amope up, to her repeated and escalated screams. She now threatens to call the police, shouting for the prophet, and Chume threatens her by lifting his fist. Jero "gasps in mock-horror," then shakes his head and leaves. Chume orders Amope once again to get on the bike, to which Amope replies, "I won't get on that thing unless you kill me first."

Now neighbors are surrounding the scene, and Amope shouts that they can bear witness to the scene. She proclaims that she forgives all those who have caused her "evil" and forgives her debtors, "especially the prophet who has got me into all this trouble." She explicitly names Brother Jeroboam as this prophet, shouting that he can keep the velvet cape that he bought from her if he "curse[s] this foolish man."

Suddenly, hearing Amope mention Jero and his debts to her, Chume appears confused and turns away, telling Amope to shut up. The surrounding crowd grows more anxious, whispering to one another, but no one intervenes. He then approaches Amope, as she continues to pound on Jero's door. "Did I hear you say Prophet Jeroboam?" Amope is still shouting that Chume will kill her, but he insists that he will only touch her if she does not answer his question. He pushes further, asking Amope if Brother Jero lives in the house whose door she is facing. She only replies, "Kill me."

The nearest member of the crowd confirms that the house indeed belongs to Brother Jero. Astonished, Chume turns to stare at the house in silence, occasionally muttering "So.... so...." as he puts together the pieces. The crowd and Amope look to him in anticipation. Finally, he starts toward his bike, appearing to have made sense of Brother Jero's intentions. "So...suddenly he decides I may beat my wife, eh? For his own convenience," he says. He removes all belongings and packages from the bicycle and, before riding off, demands that Amope remain in place until he returns.

Amope addresses the crowd, saying she has never before seen Chume act in such a way. She claims he is mad, and confirms this when a bystander asks for verification. If that is the case, the bystander responds, Amope must send Chume to Brother Jero; she relates a story of a brother of hers whom Jero cured of the devil. Amope responds that this prophet is merely a debtor, and "that's all he knows." The scene closes on Amope unpacking the bundles that Chume had removed from his bike.


This scene represents that peak of the play's rising action, as Jero's fallacies are revealed to Chume. Chume has finally decided to act on his own volition, making his first decision in the play that is not reliant on the opinions of Jero or Amope. It is ironic that in moments of real fear, Amope, too, relies on Jero, turning to a power considered--if not by her, then by most others--higher than her own. In this moment, Amope will herself to believe in Jero's power as well. Yet she is just as quick to dismiss him once again, when out of Chume's angry hands.

Jero is satisfied with his presence in the scene, unknown to all others, as if he is omniscient, watching the characters act out the plot of a play he has already written. His "mock-horror" at the scene unfolding before him stresses his own enjoyment at the disaster, and his ability to separate himself from the consequences of his actions as if he were indeed watching a play rather than engaging with reality. He is, of course, unwilling to take responsibility for his actions, as he sneaks out of the scene.