The Curious Savage by John Patrick is a delightful play that is often referred to as comedic (“The Curious Savage,” Wikipedia). The plot is that a woman plans to spend her money on something her family finds frivolous, so they conspire to commit her to a psychiatric hospital. Within the hospital are many officially crazy people, who have fewer problems than the woman’s stepchildren. These insane, who are actually society’s misfits, are the very people whom Mrs. Savage was planning to benefit with her money (“The Curious Savage,” Theater on a Shoestring). In fact, the drama is a playful look at insanity, as greed and as officially declared by society.
John Patrick demonstrates that greed is insanity in this play (Carrier). He introduces the play through the children of the late Mr. Savage. Mrs. Savage’s stepchildren do not want her to spend the money their father left her because they want to inherit it themselves. So, despite their stepmother’s clear sanity, they conspire to have her committed to a sanitorium in order to gain control of the money (Patrick 326). They lie out of greed. The doctor who agrees to commit her is also greedy. The siblings have promised him a financial bonus if their stepmother is found insane (327). This greed is the real insanity (Lucas). The family and the doctor go outside the ethical and moral rights of their positions in relation to Mrs. Savage and break society’s expectations, which is the definition of insanity (Carrier).