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What does Translations have to say about the individual and the community?

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Introduction

What does Translations have to say about the individual and the community? There tends to be quite a large use of extended metaphors within the play referring to the individual and the community frequently. Translations is said by many to be 'an intelligent and enlightening metaphor for the situation in Northern Ireland'. This statement can be backed up and the reader can see many representations throughout the play. The most obvious example is that of the situation between Maire and Yolland on page 62. A significant part of this scene is when Maire says ' that leap across the ditch nearly killed me', as she is really symbolising the change the Irish people must undergo. Therefore, individuals are used to represent different views and cultures, as well as having their own. Characters are used mainly as a metaphor for Irelands position with the English. This is evidence of a particularly good playwright. Friel uses Sarah as a symbol to represent Baile Beag's loss of language as the English arrive to anglicise the Irish counties. ...read more.

Middle

The character then progresses and adopts their own personality and identity. In the case of Sarah, she is described as being 'waiflike' and 'unintelligible'. As the play progresses, Sarah's identity changes as she learns to speak. Later, Friel uses Sarah's identity to represent the more timid people of Ireland as she becomes incoherent. Another example is the character of Maire. Maire is described as a 'strong-minded and strong-bodied woman' at the start of the play, but, by the end, seems to have become distant as if she'd been 'washed away' by her contact with the English, and, more importantly, with Yolland. Therefore, individual identity can alter when situations change. Friel created Jimmy Jack as an eccentric, an infant 'prodigy'. He acts as a symbol of an attachment to the past, and cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality. This takes both a political and social stand towards Baile Beag. Is it so bad that Jimmy Jack has to resort to living in a fantasy world? This relates to the flaws within Baile Beag, which, in turn, make up most of the community. ...read more.

Conclusion

Throughout the play, Friel tries to include as many well known events and characters as possible to add a sense of realism. Therefore, certain famous individuals, and the mention of them, boost the readers' interest and increase the level of validity. The community is presented to us as being close, but with the English trying to anglicise, we realise that this is far from the true realisation. For example Maire and Manus; once engaged, but with the Anglicisation, Maire realises she wants better things from life, and proceeds to find these in Yolland, the Englishman. Language also this splits this pair apart too, as we see Yolland disappear towards the end of the play, with the suspicion that he has been killed by the Donnelly brothers for breaking up the community. Overall, Friel shows the audience that the individual and the community are intertwined and are similar in their symbolism and characteristics. As language is integrated within society, the community is forced to separate. Individuals are described and portrayed as the powerful essence of a community, whilst the community itself symbolises the much-needed unity in order to preserve the culture and the individual identity of Ireland. ...read more.

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