Translations Essay Essay Research Paper In drama

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Translations Essay Essay, Research Paper In drama, the opening scenes of the play normally provide an exposition, and establish characters and themes. Translations does this, beginning by providing a stage setting which contributes immediately to our appreciation of rural Irish communal life in the early 19th century. As Friel describes it there is a hedge school situated in a ‘disused barn’ with the remains of ‘five or six stalls’. It is full of ‘broken and forgotten implements’, and the room is ‘comfortless’ with ‘no trace of a woman’s hand. This depicts a poor community in a place of learning. The community however, emerges as a very active place with a sense of social activity and togetherness, an atmosphere established through references to people and

places off stage. Pubs such as Gracies, Con Connie Tim’s, and Anna mBreags are well known meeting places. Characters who never appear on stage-Bed Ned Frank, Biddy Hanna, Sean Beag, Seamus, and the Donnelley Twins contribute to this feel of a busy community, hence the opening scene can be said to provide an exposition, fulfilling the function of what opening scenes do. Another thing the opening scene of ?Translations? does is introduce the themes and devices of the play. One theme introduced is Humour, which is used for two purposes; to bring light-heartedness to the play to entertain the audience, and to break and release tension, so that there are alternating atmospheres in scenes to make the play more riveting. Examples of the latter in the opening scenes are Jimmy Jacks

humorous speech, on Athenes ?supple limbs? and ?flaxen hair?, and the fact that his only knowledge of any English words is ?bosom?. Also, is Maires one sentence of English that she learnt from her Aunt, ?In Norfolk we besport ourselves around the maypole?. An example of the latter situation is when Marie brings news that the ‘English soldiers are below in the tents’. The tension increases significantly with Marie’s reference to the English provoking a strong reaction from Manus, when would not have otherwise responded to her nagging. ‘What the hell are you so crabbed about?. At this point, when the tension is rife, the intervention of humour is used in the entrance of Doalty who enters imitating Hugh, the schoolmaster, ‘vespearal salutations to you. The humour serves as

a contrast to the tension before, therefore reinforcing in the audiences? mind the violent reaction of Manus before the humour. It serves to highlight an important point for the audience, that Manus dislikes the English and can be characterised as a person in opposition of them. This method of using tension, then humour in a cycle keeps the play more riveting. It is a recurrent device, established in the first act which is utilised in the rest of the play. Irony is another device introduced in the play which continues throughout the play. It is used to undermine important points. An example can be found in Scene 1 where Hugh’s views are undermined. Hugh claims that the English are particularly suited to the ‘purposes of commerce’, implying that Gaelic is not, but he then

ironically shouts to Manus for a slice of soda bread, showing that Gaelic is needed for those purposes. This shows that Gaelic is not necessarily better than English as they are both used for commerce. Politics is an important theme introduced in the opening scene of the play. The Hedge schools in which the opening scenes are set were a form of rebellion against English colonial rule in the early 19th century, thus the audience are aware of the political context in which the play is set. . Events in the play parallel events of that time. For example the English were in the process of anglicising Ireland during the period when the play was set, and were occupying Ireland, and Marie informs the audience that the English soldiers are ‘below in the tents’. Similarly, Maire