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

How Have Other Peoples Readings Of "Translations" Helped You To Understand The Contexts Of The Play In Scene 1?

Extracts from this document...


Dave King 12NI How Have Other Peoples Readings Of "Translations" Helped You To Understand The Contexts Of The Play In Scene 1? The first act of Friel's play "Translations" features many different contexts ranging from the infamous potato famine to hinting at the possible forming of the present day IRA (the Donnelly twins,) and politics. One of the major contexts that also coincide with the title of the play is translation. The translation of Irish name into English name. I only realised this by reading a Canadian writers essay on language and its importance in "Translations". Especially in relation to Owen and his take on the Irish language. Where as many Irish people, at the time, saw the English to be taking away Irelands identity by colonizing it and changing names, language etc. Owen seems to be na�ve and miss this. By changing place names they are not only taking away identity but also something more intimate, a part of their lifestyle. Hence when the English mistake Owens name to be Roland it seems to be Manus who is more frustrated by this whereas Owen says "Owen - Roland- what the hell. It's only a name. ...read more.


It has been shown by statistics that half a million Irish children received illegal tuition through hedge school. This links in with the whole idea of translations, as at the new national schools, where you were forced to go to by law, the language you would be taught in would be English, no longer Gaelic. To some people This was a problem but to others like Maire, English was seen as the language of opportunity. "The old language was a barrier to modern progress" she quotes from the famous Daniel O'Connel. There is an increasing amount of tension being built up in the first act with regards to the devastating potato famine. There is a sense of dramatic irony being shown as well. Seeing as the play is set in the 1830s this is only a short time before the potato blight occurred in 1845.this disaster caused the population of Ireland to drop from eight million down to six million. It is believed that one million people died of starvation while another million were forced to immigrate to start new lives in Canada and America etc. It is obvious to the audience that the famine will occur but the characters in the play are blind to this even though the clues are all there. ...read more.


Although Seamus Deane says "Translations" is a "sequence of events in history which are transformed by his writing into a parable of events in the present day." The play has also been described as an enlightening metaphor for the situation in Northern Ireland. The many contexts featured in the play are extremely important as they add a framework or shell to the play allowing it to go in many directions. Although it features so many different contexts Friel is quoted to say that "Translations" is "to do with language and only language." Therefore not historical contexts. To become more familiar with the play and its many contexts background reading and the reading of other people's interpretations are essential. By reading theses criticisms I have become more aware at how Friel has made the play so effective by setting it in the specific era. By doing this it makes it easier for the audience to see how the recent condition of Ireland spiralled way out of control originating in the mid 1800s. It also gives greater depth to the tragedy that will eventually befall and that the audience know the tragedy is coming but not on so many levels. Overall it is essential to at least to some form of background reading in order to understand the play to a higher level. ...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.

    He says that his father applied for the job; Manus should go for the job but he is afraid of humiliating his father, this shows that he is very respectful to him. Maire drops the subject and starts talking to Bridget, she says 'the sweet smell was everywhere.'

  2. How are the characters and their relations established in Act one of Brian Friel's ...

    Yolland is a very romantic character and instead of brushing the Irish language and people to one side and getting on with his job, he tells the people of Baile Beag that he has fallen in love with their country and that he feels foolish, ' to be working here

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

    It appears to the audience that O'Neill has lost sense of any identity he once had, which isn't hard to believe considering he has been banished from not one but both of his homes, and now resides in a foreign country that has been alien to him most of his life.

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

    Omniscient narrators overview action and can comment either in the manner of an essayist of more indirectly through the thoughts of the characters. This form of narration has the effect of voicing (one assumes) E.M. Forster's own beliefs, since despite other Anglo-Indian and Indian voices dramatised within the novel, it is the voice of the narrator that prevails.

  1. What do you find of significance in Friel's presentation of the world of the ...

    Sarah is stuck in the hedge-school as she cannot speak and is considered by the community to be dumb as her speech defect is so bad. She is ranked in one of the lowest social positions because she cannot venture much further out of the hedge-school as she cannot communicate

  2. In Act 1 of 'Translations' Friel presents us with an 'intellectual Irish Arcadia'. How ...

    Greek before asking members of his class to translate them into Irish. He even has some knowledge of the connotations and etymology of words - at the start of the play, he says (in reference to the derivation of the word 'baptise'), "Indeed - our friend Pliny Minor speaks of the 'baptisterium' - the cold bath".

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

    "Translations" gives us a picture of what Ireland's peasant population was like during that period. Marie chooses to emigrate, and Hugh and Jimmy were inspired to take up arms against Britain in the 1798 rebellion. The Donnelly twins are not introduced to the audience at any point throughout the play

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

    The opening description of school essentially seems to underline the nature of the educational system of the town of Baile Beag. It initially establishes the school as based in a ?disused barn or hay-shed?, and later acknowledges a number of agriculture implements such as ?farming tools? and ?hay?.

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