Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Courthouse. Act 1 of the play is introduced by a prose narrative titled “The Courthouse (A Name for the City)” that is designed to establish the significance of the place as more than a mere backdrop for the story. In this section, Faulkner traces the history of Jefferson, Mississippi, from its founding, near the beginning of the nineteenth century, to the time of the narrative. The courthouse was constructed some thirty years after the town was founded. The narrative sets the stage for the first scene of the play, which occurs in the courtroom in which Nancy Mannigoe, Temple and Gowan’s servant, has been tried and condemned to death for the murder of their child. The second and third scenes of the act take place in the modern living room of Temple and Gowan’s apartment in an antebellum home in Jefferson.
*Jackson. Capital of Mississippi. The narrative section that introduces act 2, titled “The Golden Dome (Beginning Was the Word),” is devoted to the history of Mississippi in general and the capital, Jackson, in particular. “The Golden Dome” is a reference to the state capitol building. Scenes 1 and 3 are set in the governor’s office in the capitol. Faulkner’s stage directions describe the set as suspended above the stage, since it symbolizes “the still higher, the last, the ultimate seat of judgment.” The second scene, a flashback to a time before the murder, occurs in Temple’s private rooms in the apartment she shares with Gowan.
Jefferson jail. The opening narrative of act 3 is “The Jail (Nor Even Yet Quite Relinquish–),” in which Faulkner continues the history of his fictional town of Jefferson. He uses the jail as a symbol not only for the growth of the community but also for the changes in the United States during the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. The third act’s one scene takes place in the common room of the jail on the day before Nancy Mannigoe is to be hanged for the murder of Temple and Gowan’s child. The almost medieval appearance of the jail serves as an ideal backdrop for the tragic story of Nancy, the child, and his parents.