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Examine the dramatic and thematic significance of the role of crossing boarders in Translations.

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At the end of the play, Jimmy Jack says "and the word exogamein means to marry outside the tribe. And you don't cross those boarders casually, both sides get very angry." In the light of this quotation, examine the dramatic and thematic significance of the role of crossing boarders. In many ways, Translations is a pessimistic play, particularly about the capacity of people from different cultures to communicate to each other. It is pessimistic in the sense that all attempts to break past ancient barriers fail. It is in this sense that the theme of crossing boarders is very significant in the very foundations of the play. More specifically, Translations highlights the importance of language, and communication in general, for the conflicts between different groups. Lack of communication builds boarders and makes them impenetrable. The structure or Translations allows Friel to explore several layers of events and themes. On one level, it is about a series of local incidents in a small village in northwest Ireland in 1833, which compel the characters to change the way they live. ...read more.


He looses his enthusiasm for the British colonial cause and begins to disagree with the English thinking that the Irish names should be 'standardized.' (Act III p68) "The original's Saint Muranus. Don't you think we should go back to that?" We see him appreciating the historical significance of names that he had previously discarded in Act I as insignificant: (Act I p37) "Owen-Roland-what the hell. It's only a name." However, reinforcing my argument, even in his temporary shift of loyalty Owen creates tension, particularly with Manus. Hugh on the other hand is just pleased to have him home. This is emphasized in the stage directions. (Act I p 26) "He embraces Hugh warmly and genuinely...Hugh's eyes are moist-partly joy, partly the drink" contrasts with Manus' cold tone and manor "You're welcome Owen"; he speaks to Owen like he would when welcoming a guest. By attempting to cross boarder he is estranged. And so, even though he manages to cross the boarders of language, he never completes the transition to the other 'tribe.' ...read more.


We suspect the Irish rebels kill Yolland and then as a result the British Forces threaten to 'level' the Irish town of Baile Beag. Friel was obviously trying to show the disastrous consequences of what such a simple innocent relationship can result in. This, again, can be linked to Jimmy Jack's statement. It is interesting that Friel chose the last scene of the play to draw particular attention to this theme and leads us to believe that he does this so the audience will go away from the performance with the imagery of 'ravished' farm lands, and militant violence and this theme fresh in their minds. In conclusion, after analysis of the play's structure and central ideas we can see that the theme of crossing boarders is the most significant in the play as in a way, all aspects, whether they be linguistic, cultural or geographical are connected to it. Although Friel is quoted to have said Translations is a play about 'language and only language' cannot be doubted that in writing Translations Friel wanted to make his audience aware of the consequences of crossing ancient barriers built by language, and made impenetrable by language. Charlie Matthews 12CAS Translations essay 06/05/07 1 of 2 ...read more.

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