Aristocrats gives us a portrait of a fallen family, the O’Donnells. They were Irish Roman Catholic nobility. Now, with impending death of the father, a long line of district judges will come to an end. None of the children is happy, and only the locals – the “peasants” – seem to have done well for themselves. The ghost of the mother, who committed suicide, haunts the family, and the only way they can escape their father’s hold over them is through his death. Even then, their lives and dreams have been ruined, and it may be too late. An American scholar, on hand to study the dying Irish aristocracy, gets a sad but accurate picture.