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O’Casey depicts people as victims of their environment. Show how thet social and political unrest in Ireland in the early 1920’s affects the characters in Juno and the Paycock. In your answer you should examine at least three characters in deta

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Q1 O'Casey depicts people as victims of their environment. Show how thet social and political unrest in Ireland in the early 1920's affects the characters in Juno and the Paycock. In your answer you should examine at least three characters in detail. ????????????????????????????????????????? The play, "Juno and the Paycock" is set in working class Dublin during the 1920's. The family, around whom the play is set; the Boyle family, live in very poor working class conditions. Their home is a two-room tenement and this has to be shared by four adults, Juno, Boyle, Mary and Johnny. The furnishings are very poor "Cretonne hangings strung on twine" and the family used a "galvanised bath". When they believe, in the second act, that they are about to come into some money, they buy things like an "upholstered armchair", such luxuries being absent from their life. The political situation in Ireland at that time was one of great unrest; the civil war had taken place and Ireland had assumed a level of independence although because it was not complete, the "die hards" continued a level of violence. At the same time, the socialist movement was growing across Europe and Ireland through the Labour movement. The Labour movement's aim was to try to improve the lot of the of the working classes and they organised strikes when necessary to protect the rights of the workers and to put pressure on the employers to improve working conditions. ...read more.


Although she has very little she does not support the Labour Movement; She is uneducated and does not read as Mary does. She sees a strike as many people suffering instead of one. She is a maternal person who looks after her children. Early in the play when Mary is strong, she scolds her about her vanity but when she is in trouble and pregnant, she defends her to the point when she would leave her husband. Her son she sees as always needing her support and she gives this to him, " There dear, lie down in the bed, an ill put the quilt across you". The political situation and Johnny's involvement with it are the ultimate cause of his death. Juno's thoughts from Act two echo the audiences thoughts "Its nearly time we had a little less respect for the dead and a little more respect for the living!" Juno does not believe that violence should be used to support principals. Juno, when she is told of Mary's pregnancy, supports her, even though her father and her brother are so critical. Johnny thought Mary had sunk so low that it was unforgivable "My God Mary, have you fallen as low as that!" Boyle also reacts badly to the news of Mary's pregnancy, but Juno quickly quiets him "you'll say nothing to her Jack; ever since she left school she's earned her keep an' your fatherly care never throubled the poor girl!" ...read more.


When caught in the centre of warring ideals it is the vunerable in society who suffer and it is normally the poor who are the most vunerable. It is the defenceless people like the Boyles who end up paying the price. O'Casey, in this play uses the Boyle family to show the poor really are able to do very little to help themselves. Juno, having married Jack, is stuck with a lazy husband who refuses to contribute. He is totally selfish and contributes nothing to the family. Juno is left to struggle through on her own. The loss of her son and the pregnancy of her daughter are all troubles to be carried by her. There is no outside help or support. Mary, who had aspirations to better herself is now totally disillusioned, she loves the father of the child, but has been rejected by him. She is left to deal with this on her own with the exception of the support of her mother, Juno. Her father, Johnny and Jerry all reject her for her mistake. Despite being a hard worker with aspirations she will find it very difficult to rise above the condition. Johnny was involved with fighting and continued his involvement culminating with his betrayal of Tancred. The battalion reveal his cowardly behaviour and have him executed. His death is a direct result of his own behaviour. ...read more.

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