• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Friel present the duality at the heart of the character O(TM)Neill in the opening scene of making History?

Extracts from this document...


How does Friel present the duality at the heart of the character O'Neill in the opening scene of making History? The character of O'Neil within the play Making History is presented by Friel in several conflicting roles, conveying the inner conflict he feels as a character in various aspects within his life. Friel uses description within stage directions, as well as the actions and dialogue of O'Neil to portray this theme of duality. Two of the main opposing roles played by O'Neill are his public figure, versus his private figure. O'Neill, being a chieftain of Ireland has a major leading stand to play in the politics of his country. In addition, he also acts as an Earl in England, therefore becoming involved in English battles and other political concerns for the opposing country. O'Neill does not express himself through speech particularly in the opening scene and therefore his public authority is suggested through the dialogue of his fellow characters and friends; Harry Hovedon, Lombard and O'Donnell. ...read more.


This reflects the English stereotype of being reserved and keeping a 'stiff upper lip', and the reversion back to his Irish original accent shows his more passionate expressive Irish routes, and inner personality concealed behind his public figure. O'Neill's duality between two neighbouring countries proposes inevitable conflict in the fact that the two countries' entirely opposing cultures are about to go to war. England's attempts to overrule Ireland create tension between the two cultures, and yet O'Neill has placed himself between the two, treading a fine line in order not to fall too far into one or the other, while still trying to maintain his precious reputation and loyalties. Harry Hovedon discusses his links with the English Lords in order to re-establish connections to maintain a sense of political peace. The lifestyles of the English, ' a few days fishing on the Boyne', in contrast to the Irish clan rivalry, 'killed five women and two children; stole cattle and horses and burned every hayfield in sight', creates a juxtaposition by Friel of the two. ...read more.


O'Neill stands up for Mabel, presented by Friel as a loyal husband despite the loyalty he owes to his friends. His exposition of Mabel to his colleagues and companions not only shows his eloquence in giving public speeches, presenting his public figure; but also his true and honest love for Mabel as a woman despite her origins. In this scene O'Neill has to battle with the conflict between his Irish friends and fellow chieftains, and his new English protestant wife, who has left her country to join a new and intimidating place where the Irish view will cause much dispute and unsettled opinions on not only Mabel, but also about where O'Neill's loyalties lie. Friel creates tension within the opening scene as he introduces O'Neill, who has to battle through the friction of contrasting roles as a public and private man; husband and a friend; and the general theme of his divided loyalties between two very different and conflicting cultures of England and Ireland. Friel prepares the audience for a tense and dramatic play where the character must inevitably experience a downfall or strife as he attempts to juggle all of these incongruous aspect of his life. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Playwrights section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Playwrights essays

  1. Turn to Act two, scene two and remind yourself of the whole scene. This ...

    It is noticeable that Maire says to Yolland in Gaelic to say anything at all as she loves the sound of his speech. Coincidentally Yolland then says the exact same words in English only a few lines later. Again this supports the idea that it seems as though they are having a normal conversation when in fact they are not.

  2. "The British are bad news to the Irish" - "Explore critical views and explain ...

    The disease attacked the potato plant and turned the leaves black and withered them as if they were decaying and this gave off a sweet stench of decay. During these dreadful times 1 million people died and 1.5 million emigrated to Britain and America.

  1. Translations was written in 1980 as the first play to be produced by Brian ...

    His attitude changes through the play as he lose Maire and Yolland disappears. The characters come in, in staggered intervals, each adding a conversational and thematic thread to the dialogue. Maire is concerned with moving to America. Bridget and Doalty talk about interfering with, and hampering, the English effort to map the region.

  2. Translations - Character Study.

    (P.85). * Hugh desperately seeks a sense of authority. When his English guests arrive with Owen he does everything in his power to welcome them to such an extent that his behaviour becomes "expansive." * Hugh's talent in language through his love of the classics and his fluency in English and Irish portrays him as a mouthpiece for language generally.

  1. How does Friel explore the concept of identity in Making History, looking at alternative ...

    The duality of O'Neill's identity is played on and enforced throughout Making History through the use of stage directions. The narrator tells the audience at the beginning of the play that "He always speaks in an upper-class English accent except on those occasions specifically scripted."

  2. Discuss how Friel presents the characters and introduces the main themes in Scene 1 ...

    Also, he is a very close friend of O'Neill, as he knew about his marriage to Mabel Bagenal before anyone else. Mabel Bagenal is described by O'Donnell as 'that Upstart bitch' before he has even met her. This demonstrates the constant conflict that England and Ireland are in.

  1. How does the introduction of themes and ideas in the exploration of Making History(TM) ...

    In the beginning, as O'Neill and his secretary conduct official business, the play bogs down in detail, but it is soon invigorated by the conflict between O'Neill and his closest supporters and between him and his English wife. Among his countrymen, O'Neill seems to be the single pragmatist, a man who is able to bring about progress through compromise.

  2. How does Frayn present social class and it's importance to Stephen?

    As previously stated, Stephen is allowing his social status to manipulate his lifestyle by making himself feel inferior to those above him, such as Keith Hayward. Stephen?s reluctance to rise against those in a higher social class than him entitles Keith to take advantage of him.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work