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How Does Friel Introduce And Present The Themes Of Language And Translation In The Opening Sequence Of The Play?

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Introduction

How Does Friel Introduce And Present The Themes Of Language And Translation In The Opening Sequence Of The Play? Throughout the opening sequence of Brian Friel's " Translations" the themes of language and translation occur frequently and in many different forms. The theme of language comes up in the very first few pages; we are introduced to many different levels of language from different characters. For example, Jimmy reading Greek stories to himself, Manus, who is fairly literate and knowledgeable and then Sarah who is trying to pronounce her name with the aid of Manus. She has a speech defect and has not been able to speak, she communicates via hand signals and "grunts". Sarah has this as her own language and on page 6 she communicates with Manus using this. She is trying to indicate where the master is. Her language requires trial and error and is not very specific thus taking numerous tries to find out where the master has gone and why he is so late. ...read more.

Middle

Many different forms of communicating appear in this play, as there is a different kind of relationship between each character and another. For example Maire seems to control the conversation between her and Manus whereas he seems patronising and slightly controlling towards Sarah. There are many different relationships like these throughout the first sequence. All the way through this first sequence there are different forms of language and translation presented to the audience. They come in many different varieties, some more subtly than others. At the top of page 26 we see Owen enter, we have not heard anything about him however the stage directions tell us a lot. From these directions we know that Owen is the younger son of Hugh, he is smartly dressed-a city man and that he has a charming personality. From the first line he speaks we know he has been away from Baile Beag as he is looking for Hugh and his hedge-school. However he is being sarcastic and is trying to make a big entrance by not knowing where the hedge-school is when he clearly does. ...read more.

Conclusion

Again he plays on their good nature by saying "May I Bring Them in?" To be polite they must say yes. By playing on their good nature he is controlling the conversation and getting his point across slowly without panicking his friends. After this Owen takes up his father's game he uses flattery to keep control of this game and his audience and to introduce his point slowly whilst not being direct in what is happening to Baile Beag. He uses flattery as one way of controlling the conversation, another is to play his fathers game. To me I feel that Owen is the elder son rather than Manus as he has left the village in search of work and money and is offering to go to the pub and get drunk with Hugh. Whereas Manus is left to go get the tea and bread, more like a servant than a son. Hugh definitely has more respect for Owen than Manus and this is clearly shown, as Hugh get very emotional on the arrival of Owen. Owen I feel is manipulative in his character and needs to be the centre of attention all of the time. ...read more.

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