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Juno and the Paycock

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At the end of 'Juno and the Paycock', Juno says to Mary that although her un-born baby may not have a father, 'It'll have what's far betther- it'll have two mothers'. Does the play provide evidence to support the opinion that the female characters are superior to men? 'Today in our modern society, women have equal rights to men. Jobs are not decided on gender and many men are house-husbands. This was not, however, the case in the early 1920s. Men where in charge, they where the working partner and the bread-winner for the family. Women where the house-wives who never questioned the authority of their husbands, yet, this was not the state of affairs in a two room tenancy lived in by the Boyle Family. In charge of this family was Juno Boyle, who not only was the sole source of income, a loving mother, and a devoted wife but the one person who took all of the family's burdens and troubles on her shoulders. Based on O' Casey's own mother who, single-handedly brought the O' Casey up family when Sean's father died. She was described as loving, hard-working, determined and devoted, which is what we come to know Juno as. The father, "Captain" Jack Boyle (so called because of his being a retired merchant sailor, his reputation for telling colorful stories of the sea, and his incessant wearing of his naval-looking hat) ...read more.


He lost his arm in the Eastern Rising and was shot in the hip during Easter week, because of this he is full of self pity and hates to be left alone. Johnny betrayed Tancred, a neighbor and fellow comrade in the IRA, and is afraid that he will be executed as punishment. Johnny is a deceitful, ill-fated coward who is emotionally and physically injured. He is harsh when he learns of Mary's fortune, "She should be dhriven outa th' house she brought shame on..." He doesn't think much of his father, "I'll tell you what I think of you, father an' all as your are...you..." Mary Boyle is a young girl in her early twenties who is currently on strike with a Trade Union. She believes in sticking to principles and it is this that has cost Mary her job. When we first meet Mary it is only to see her reject Jerry Devine. She is discarding him for a Mr. Bentham, an English solicitor who later impregnates her. Mary is very self conscious and is conceited; "I think I'll wear the green, it looks betther than the blue ribbon" Mary is worried about her fatherless unborn child growing up. "My poor little child that'll have no father!" it is then that we realize that Mary has inherited many of her mother's characteristics and beliefs. This stands her in good stead of becoming as good a mother as Juno was. A distant relative dies, and an English solicitor, Mr. ...read more.


At the end of the play, while Boyle is gone, Mrs. Boyle learns that her son, Johnny, has been killed, questionably by the IRA. Mary and Juno leave to live with Juno's sister. Captain Boyle and Joxer return to the tenancy drunk, unaware of the situation. Throughout this play Jack has not changed. When we first met him he was coming back from the pub and now at the end of the play it is the same story. He oblivious to trouble and drunk. Juno on the other hand has altered during the play; she has become a more independent woman and has finally left Boyle to live in his own confusion and chaos that he has created. It is with this point that I come to my conclusion. In my opinion I believe that the statement 'It'll have what's far betther- it'll have two mothers' is true in this case. The women of the play show love, independence, unselfishness and many more motherly characteristics. And although the women do have some faults they do not even begin to compare with the faults of the men. The men is this play are mostly self-centred, lazy, cowardly and most of the time drunk, this is not what you want a child to grow up with. For these reasons I do agree with Juno's statement and in this tragedy I strongly stand by my belief that the baby would be far better with two mothers than with one and a 'father'. ...read more.

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