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

'Translations depicts the cultural take over of Ireland by the British Empire, yet it cannot be said to be simply pro-Irish.' Consider this comment

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Lizzie Franks 29/25/03 English Literature Coursework- 'Translations depicts the cultural take over of Ireland by the British Empire, yet it cannot be said to be simply pro-Irish.' Consider this comment on the play. The Cultural take over of Ireland by the British Empire is a central issue in Translations. Friel examines this issue by describing the effects that certain changes have on individual characters; Irish and English. One may think a play with this issue could not help being biased towards the Irish. However, Friel 'did not wish to write a play about Irish peasants being suppressed by English sappers.' In order to ascertain whether he achieves this, we should look to his often complex characters and how they develop throughout the play. and so we must look at individual characters, as Friel does, to see whether this play is pro-Irish or not. Let us take Hugh O'Donnell as the first example. Hugh is portrayed as an intellectual character. He has a wide knowledge of languages and uses a sophisticated choice of words. ...read more.

Middle

Yolland also shows disloyalty to his own country and language when he decides that 'there is no English equivalent' for a sound like Bun na hAbhann' and wishes to live in Ireland because it is 'heavenly'. As an audience, we find ourselves praising Yolland and respecting him for his capacity to embrace other cultures. We also respect Manus for his sense of duty and loyalty towards Ireland. Friel plays with our emotions in this way making us hypocritical as we admire certain characters for the opposite reason that we admire others. It is interesting to note that the characters Friel wants us to admire are the ones who have a passionate love for Ireland; could this be a definite pro-Irish element of the play? In Irish drama, in the twentieth century, the stage-Englishman was developed as a counter to the stage Irish man. This stereotype took on two forms, both of which are found in 'Translations'. There is the cold, brutal Englishman that has no sentimental feelings for Ireland (Lancey). ...read more.

Conclusion

We ask has Owen betrayed his own culture, or is he embracing another culture as Yolland does? If it is betrayal, is this the fault of the English? For these questions Friel provides no answers, he invites us to use our own judgements and perceptions to interpret these characters. Friel uses Yolland, once again, to represent the attempt of joining two cultures together by his relationship with Maire. However, this joining is doomed to fail just like the couple's relationship is as, even though Maire and Yolland celebrate what they love about each other's cultures, thus ignoring their differences, there is still a failure to communicate. This can be seen when Yolland and Maire are having a 'conversation' with each other, even though neither speaks the others language, and Yolland explains 'I'm not going to leave here', while Maire pleads 'Take me away with you George'. This represents the inability for all the characters to communicate which results in the supposed death of Yolland. This English soldier is therefore seen as a victim and his questionable murderer appears to be the Irish Manus; although Friel leaves us to decide this for ourselves. ...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. Translations - Character Study.

    * He appears to have some sort of farmer background. "When my grandfather was a boy they did the same thing." (P.83). Words to describe Doalty: Joker, humorous, light hearted, lacks intelligence. Bridget: * Bridget is the local gossip in Baile Beag.

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

    These people emigrated on ships called "Coffin ships". Hundreds got on these ships at a time and only a third of them got off at their destined port as the other two thirds of them died from disease or hunger. Ireland's population before the famine was around 8 million and it decreased to 5 million after the famine.

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

    In order to correct Friel's so called 'historical errors' Andrews claims that the map was much more of a civil measure, rather than an oppressive military act. In support of Friel's own words that 'the play has to do with language and language only' it is important to highlight the relationship between names and identity.

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

    Also when he says, 'Just to indicate...a presence.' Shows that maybe it is hard for the Irish to be noticed. When Manus feels that the master is not going to turn up he tells everyone to move to their seats so they can begin the lesson.

  1. In what ways could Hugh justifiably be said to be the central character and ...

    While this demonstrates how Hugh holds the past to be important, it also creates an element of pomposity in him to the point where it is hard to take Hugh seriously as a character. However, in spite of his pomposity and heavy drinking, Hugh still manages to command respect amongst his peers.

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

    Manus' father, Hugh is a lot less considerate of other's feelings. His teaching methods include humiliating students and not giving them a chance to proove themselves. Brian Friel establishes Hugh's character in Act one by building his character up through the other characters' impersinations of him.

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

    The first time Hugh speaks in the play, he greets his class with the line "Vesperal salutations to you all", illustrating perfectly the grasp which he has of the Irish language. Furthermore, he is fluent in other languages as well, and has the tendency to say phrases in Latin and

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

    Furthermore in Maire responding to Jimmy?s question ?Esne fatigata?? by stating ?Sum fatigatissima?, she demonstrates to the audience the universal success of a culturally aware education in this rural town through the evident juxtaposition between a seemingly simple, ?strong bodied? woman and her knowledge of the Latin language.

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