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In responding to the critical comments, give your view on language and the role it takes in Translations.

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Introduction

In responding to the critical comments, give your view on language and the role it takes in Translations. Declan Kiberd, 'The play is a reminder that the Irish people can decide which language is spoken in Ireland' Helen Gilbert , Post-Colonial drama, 'The play exemplifies the slipperiness of language on a number of levels' The quote taken from Kiberd I disagree with as I feel that there are too many points in the play itself and in the context that goes against it. For example the new national school opening. It is not practically possible for the Irish to have a decision in what language is spoken in Ireland, as it is almost made for them, due to the issue of poverty and therefore emigration to countries such as Canada and America, so they could find a more stable, and wealth life style as they would then be able to provide for their families back in Ireland. However, I do agree with Gilbert quote, as there are numerous places in the play that exemplifies the fact that the Irish language really is 'slippery'. For example when Lancy speaks to 'some of the people of Baile Beag' at the end Act one, Owen translates for him, but when he does this it is altered in such away that ends up comforting the Irish people and telling them what they would want to hear, rather than telling them the truth. ...read more.

Middle

In some respects I see Owen and Yolland as if they both traitors to their respective beliefs, undermining the arguments they might have been expected to keep to. Hugh has already given Yolland evidence on the thoughtlessness of associating the wonders of the Gaelic language with a not so glorious image of the people, and for the future; 'Yes, it is a rich language, Lieutenant, full of mythologies of fantasy and hope and self-deception...'. But Yolland, the accidental soldier, carries on his duty of ideological conversation, for he is in love with the idea that Ireland is either rooted in the past or in an imagined future. Yolland is blinded to his part in the realisation of Hugh's 'inevitabilities', and this is the main cause of Yolland's introduction to the beautifully historical and cultured Irish language. However, this goes against Kiberd's argument as it shows that if it wasn't for Yolland putting his personal views forward about the Irish language, then Owen would have, with much more ease, been able to change the place names. This point also shows that the Irish actually didn't put up much of a fight about the place names changing. A further irony lies outside the text but remains in the performance. In 1970 a government survey showed that only 2.7% of an Irish audience would have understood the play if it had been written in Gaelic; by the time the play was produced in 1980, the languages struggle was over, here we are observing a done deed. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is in fact, very skilled at speaking and using it. This shows that maybe what Kiberd is saying is right, that the Irish can choose what they speak, as Hugh could always speak English but just didn't as a statement towards the English. Maybe if every Irish person was so reluctant then the Irish language wouldn't have died out as dramatically and in such great proportion. Hugh enjoys his own qualities as a linguist; he could almost be seen as an athlete in language who is disappointed by the lethargy of his own native tongue. Uncertainty from his two sons, Manus the peaceful traditionalist (perhaps significantly, a maimed man) and Owen the progressive, in their gradual uniting of moral positions. Manus will become a run-away and Owen will realise in his heart as well as mind 'where he lives'. This could symbolise the Irish language abandoning their country where it was brought up in and grew in for so long. It is Hugh who will stand by both cultures, able to survive any changes through this adaptation whilst the others, i.e. Maire, will simply leave a place that is no longer home to her ears. Ironically, Maire will become a hope-filled immigrant to America, where the new white population will stunt any culture growing there for years. However, Maire is fortunate in that she can escape the growing silence of a culture in her home town. 1732 words ...read more.

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