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Lieutenant Of Inishmore

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Introduction

Introduction: In this assignment, I aim to analyse and evaluate the dramatic devices used by Martin McDonagh in his play, 'The Lieutenant of Inishmore' to engage and entertain his audience. In order to assess the literary features used within the play, I will examine the piece based on three separate areas. The first section will consist of an evaluation of the genre and dramatic devices, secondly, a consideration of the plot and characterisation. The third section will involve an analysis of the language that the author uses. Finally to conclude the piece, I will include a summary of which shall place the play in its literary context and evaluate its strengths. Critic Fintan O'Toole, having seen, 'Lieutenant of Inishmore' describes it as, "a vibrantly original mixture of absurd comedy and cruel melodrama". He further went on to say, "Clearly smearing a ginger cat in boot polish in a vain attempt to avoid the hideous retributions of 'Mad Padraic' would seem to make this an apt assessment." McDonagh's play, 'The Lieutenant of Inishmore' in my opinion deserves greater analysis to examine how far O'Toole's summary is true of the whole piece, of which is my intentions. Martin McDonagh is considered something of a marvel in contemporary theatre and has swiftly developed an international reputation. His passion for writing dated back to his teenage years, when at the age of sixteen he spent five years writing radio scripts despite them being continually rejected. Finally, two of his scripts were taken by stations in Australia. He spent a mere eight days writing his first play, 'The Beauty Queen of Leeane (1996). By the time it was produced in 1997, McDonagh was twenty seven years of age and had an impressive four plays showing simultaneously in London - an accomplishment rarely achieved by writers of his age. Additionally, while each of his plays have been situated in the west of Ireland, he has never once lived there. ...read more.

Middle

The production, 'Lieutenant of Inishmore', is a classically structured narrative in which a group of INLA terrorists part company. In an act of revenge a murdered cat is used as bait to tempt Padraic home to Inishmore. Here he meets the local sharpshooter, Mairead, an attractive girl whose brother is accused of the initial crime. In the course of the play, family feuds lead to a series of bloody murders and torture scenes rarely seen on the stage since Titus Andronicus. A second cat, belonging to Mairead is murdered also, and the piece comes full circle with a most entertaining twist in the tale. It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice-which he believed to be God's-spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation-an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than fifteen years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, having had analysed and explored all possible aspects of the piece, Lieutenant of Inishmore', I believe that for a performance as diverse as this one that an ideal audience would vary accordingly. An average younger individual would most likely respond with enthusiasm to the idiocies of the characters and the constant gore. A cognoscente however would thoroughly enjoy the complexity of meaning and ironies featured throughout. Essentially the onstage carnage prompts a cynical bit of dialogue, though its unlikely to put off any audience with a taste for comedy with a 'take no prisoners' slant on violence. Personally the aspect of the affection expressed for cat, 'Wee Thomas' is one of interest. The fact that within the play the characters are more concerned with affairs relating to dead pets, than they are of each other as human beings is of surprise. The simple fact remains however that 'Wee Thomas' is anthropomorphised to create the illusion of the pet actually being that of a fellow human, and acquaintance to Padraic - as he, himself already considers him his best and only friend. Realistically, considering the ease of staging the severe carnage of say for instance 'braining a cat' in front of an audience would prove impossible. It would take a large amount of preparation and work to re-construct a production true to its original meaning, and to an extent that remains authentic and convincing. I believe it is in my interest to express my personal judgment on the play. I found that McDonagh's hilarious and ironic lines were seamlessly mixed with elements of mirth and humour, which constantly ensured that most moments ended with a giggle rather than a nauseous convulsion as you'd expect. To achieve an effect such as this takes a great deal of expertise and it is for this reason that I personally deem 'Lieutenant of Inishmore' a success in terms of entertainment, originality and story line. ?? ?? ?? ?? 11th February 2010 English Coursework: 'The Lieutenant of Inishmore' ...read more.

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