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How does Friel use language to explore theme and characterisation in the 1st act of the play?

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Introduction

How does Friel use language to explore theme and characterisation in the 1st act of the play? 'Translations' by Brian Friel is a play set in a simple town in Ireland. The English are doing an ordnance survey of the area and the local Gaelic place names are being recorded and rendered into English. The play examines the effect of this on a small group of people in the town. On the surface the story is simple, but the play is more in depth and explores the theme of central theme of new beginnings, language, communication and the shaping of reality. The themes and characters are immediately identifiable in the first act of the play. This essay will state how through the use of language Friel manages to explore the themes in act one. As the play opens the stage direction communicate to the reader the setting of the play and the social status of the characters within. They are revealed to be a poverty stricken rural Irish community. ...read more.

Middle

The idea of a new baby being given a name also is about identity. The play is about both these things. Through the use of language Friel is already identifying themes and using the events in a town to exemplify them. The relationship between Manus and Maire is also established and their characters are explored. They are an example of a lack of communication. 'Maire The passage money came last Friday Manus You never told me that.' They speak to each other using mainly simple sentences and nether expresses their real feelings. Already their relationship is shown to one that is not extremely effective. Hugh's character is explored through Doalty's imitation of him. It provides the reader with an insight to how the other characters think he is before we are introduced to him. He is instantly recognisable when he enters. Hugh's character is revealed in the way he speaks to his students. 'Acquiesced-Maire? Too slow Bridget?' He likes to interrogate his students. It exemplifies his authoritarian role as he is testing his students and through that helping them to learn. ...read more.

Conclusion

'English, I suggested, couldn't really express us.' This ironic because the play itself is in English. Hugh states that Gaelic and Latin go together when the English language is devised from Latin. Hugh is not as knowledgeable as first seems. Even though he is scornful of the English. Hugh is planning ton teach in an English school. It explores the pragmatic side of his character. Owen like his father is also [pragmatic and believes that English has to be understood. That communication comes with understanding, which can only lead to progress this, is a major theme in this play. Friel uses the language of the characters the way in which they speak. How they communicate and what they in fact say to explore themes and characterisation in the play. He gets the point across that the characters are speaking different languages although in reality they are all speaking the same one. This effectively provides the reader an insight into the problems with communication and what can happen when people do not communicate efficiently. This also serves to explore the characters and the themes. Already in act one all of this is established and exploration has already begun. 1 ...read more.

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