JP: Did the lawyer inadvertently plant the idea for the husband’s later misdeeds during this scene? And does the lawyer realize it at the end?
Corey Mertes: Yes, he did. By railing “You adapt,” the husband expresses a narrow understanding of adaptation as nothing more than a form of self-sacrifice, a means of expressing nobility in the face of bad luck. When the lawyer points to the wife’s ignoble behavior as another example of adaptation, he reminds the husband that human beings are, after all, animals, and thus subject to the same Darwinian forces of nature as dung beetles and wombats. They adapt to survive, as the wife has done. No stiff upper lip inhibits the leopard or the crocodile. So reminded, the husband—already pushed by circumstance to the brink of sanity—also adapts in a way consistent with his ancestors: he turns to violence. What a piece of work is man? The lawyer knows.