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

How does Friel involve his audience in the conflict between coloniser and colonised in his play 'Translations'

Extracts from this document...


How does Friel involve his audience in the conflict between coloniser and colonised in his play 'Translations' The play 'translations' by Brian Friel is set in Ireland in 1833. During this time, the area was undergoing colonisation by the English and the play represents a microcosm of the events occurring all over the nation at the time. The consequence of this colonisation was inevitably that the Gaelic language native to Ireland was eventually lost and replaced by English. Friel develops a pre-disposed bias towards the colonised through the characterisation of both Hugh and Lancey and this creates an allegiance between the audience and the Hedge school natives. Hugh's humerous persona is in stark contrast to Lancey's dictatorial character. The fact that the audience knows the inevitable outcome of the situation adds weight to the empathy felt for the Irish because the audience knows that no matter what Irish natives do in an attempt to protect their identity, it will eventually be taken away from them. ...read more.


The stage direction "he leaves" is simple yet dramatic. He leaves the audience to contemplate his statement and this dramatic feature acts as discourse in the play. This is a key moment when we realise that Hugh has resigned himself to the fact that the Gaelic language is destined to be lost. The emphasis of the word fact, due to the three dot ellipses, shows that Hugh recognises that the colonisation is going ahead and that his people will be helpless against it. Lancey assumes the role of the coloniser and Friel characterises him to appear as a microcosm for the entire English army, due to his callous and unforgiving nature. At the beginning of the Dramatic crisis, Lancey enters the hedge school abruptly and is dismissive of Owen. "I understand there was a class. Where are the others?" This confident, dictatorial address is a definite contrast to his initial nervous, fragmented speech. This change in speech represents the change in the situation that Lancey finds himself in. ...read more.


The dictatorial persona taken on by Lancey further enforces the audience's sympathy for the Irish people. It is clear from Lancey's dismissive attitude that he has no time for the Irish language and that Hugh's prediction is beginning to prove accurate. The 'fact' that the English cannot be dispelled indicates that along with the new place names, a new language will also be enforced. Friel involves the audience in the struggle between coloniser and colonised by forcing them to choose which side they feel most empathetic with. It is clear that Friel has created the character of Lancey to be utterly repulsive and the audience responds to this by disliking him and his cause. On the other hand, Friel has created humerous, likeable characters in the Hedge school that the audience can relate to and this creates an understanding between the characters and the audience. Because the play is written in English, it is accessible by both the colonisers and the colonised and this will therefore evoke a reaction of some sort from every person who reads it. Andi Lapworth ...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 Brian Friel 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 Brian Friel essays

  1. Commentary on Act 1 of the book Translations by Brian Friel.

    Manus talks to Maire about her leaving for definite. She says that she does not want to talk about it now, but then goes on about how Manus was talking to her about getting married without even having a good, steady job.

  2. Compare the presentation of the colonial situation in 'A Passage to India' and 'Translations', ...

    However, the entrance of the Irish community to the stage alone is equally important, appropriately starting with Manus, Sarah and Jimmy Jack. These characters are the least accepting of England's colonialism, and refuse to acknowledge the inevitable changes (Manus for example refuses to speak English.).

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

    This shows how deeply he cared for her and enforces the idea of the bond they had over their dual identities. This must have comforted O'Neill and made him feel at home, to lose that was really the turning point in his personality, almost as if when Mabel died she

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

    where that little stream enters the sea," The maps translation is a clever way by the English to ensure that their influence is complete as they even name such an insignificant place as Bun na hAbhann. People today are still suffering because of the colonisation of the English.

  1. How does the title 'Translations' relate to the play? In particular explore how Friel ...

    For example, a Gaelic name like Cnoc Ban could become Knockban or - directly translated - Fair Hill. These new standardised names were entered into the Name-Book, and when the new maps appeared they contained all these new Anglicised names.

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

    While this could first imply that he has 'changed sides,' so to speak, we see later in the play that this is not the case. If you analyse the language he uses when he first appears at the hedge school it is difficult to decide if he genuinely appreciates and

  1. 'Friel creates a dramatic world that, from the start, is full of conflict.' To ...

    He is obviously immersed in the myths and legends of ancient Greek and Celtic folklore. A world of hyperbole and almost perfect beings, yet here he almost does not see the reality of his situation, a filthy, dishevelled and very lonely old man.

  2. How does the opening sequence to Translations prepare the audience for what is to ...

    no way pedantic? the knowledge he has gained of ancient mythology has allowed him to preserve the image of the culture of antiquity, shown in the remark that ?for Jimmy the world of the gods and the ancient myths is as real and as immediate as everyday life.? Reinforcing this

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