While The Elopers is a comedic farce that seems set on making the audience laugh, there are a few points in which it seems like it could possibly be advocating for some of the issues that were happening during the early 20th century. The satire in this play seemed to be used to highlight the historical context and issues that were happening around the time that this play was published.
Of course, during this time period, women still did not have a lot of rights. This play was published in 1913, and it would not be until 1920 that they would even receive the right to vote. It was also by the 1920’s that birth control would become something that was more accessible by women. Birth control also gave both women and men more freedom in terms being able to be more sexually active (possibly before marriage! Scandalous!).
This play could possibly be making a commentary on the changes that were happening in terms of women during this time period. This seemed to be a period of rapid change–and would continue until WWI.
Since Paul Merion is a bit of mystery overall, it is hard to know whether or not he thought these changes were a good thing. The play sometimes seems to depict Phyllis, the main character, as a ditz. She makes rash decisions and marries a man that she barely knows (who could possibly be a murderer). Even so, I personally feel like the main message of this play is that she was given a choice. With the historical context given to this play, and the fact that women were beginning to make choices sexually and personally, I feel is enough to say that this was supposed to be seen in a positive light.
To learn a bit more about the birth control movement click here.