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‘How effective isthe first scene as the opening of the play?’

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'How effective is the first scene as the opening of the play?' Brian Friel named this play, 'Translations.' By definition a translation is 'the process of rendering from one language to another, and the product of this process.' However, something is inferred in a translation, the original text looses some of its subtleties as well as some of the sounds of the words, the phonetics, and the ways in which the words are spelt, the orthographics. Sp not only is the title referring to the change of language, but also the loss of something in the process. Immediately, even before the play has begun, this title hints to the audience or reader of the topic and perhaps themes contained within the text; namely that of language. The opening line of the play belongs to Manus; Brian Friel has 'thrown' his audience into the scene mid-conversation. ...read more.


This is a very effective technique as each member of the audience becomes attached to each character; it becomes more intimate. Instantly as the play opens, we are thrust into Sarah's problematic world. We see her struggling to speak. Not only is she struggling to say a basic phrase, but she is also struggling to say a basic phrase in her own language. This is the first instance of the overall theme of the play. By including this scenario right at the opening of the play, in fact as our first introduction to the characters, Friel is enforcing his point and his general theme of the play. It reassures the audience that there is a prevailing theme, and a strong link between the title of the play, and the theme of the play. We are then introduced to Jimmy who speaks in Greek. This is firstly a good introduction to the character of Jimmy, but also it introduces Jimmy as a complete contrast to Sarah. ...read more.


He is open to new language and to old. But while Manus is a link between the past present and future, he speaks Latin/Greek, Gaelic and English, he (as we will discover later in the play) has a leaning towards the past and present. His brother who you'll meet later, Owen, prefers English over Gaelic. Manus is one of the few characters who has the potential to escape the drudgery and backwardness of his lifestyle, but instead chooses to stay at the hedge school and help his father. This is effective for the beginning of the play because we see that he is clearly talented and intelligent with potential to do better, but cannot quite tear himself away. This is all effective as it introduces the theme of the play well, enabling all aspects of language, the old and the new, to be represented through the characters. It also allows the audience to come to terms with the different habits and attributes of each of the characters in a more intimate and detailed way. ...read more.

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