DRAMA IIModern Drama Lecture 12
SYNOPSIS O’Casey ‘s Works are a representation of contemporary influences: Nothingness, Hollowness and Purposelessness • Irish Civil War: Jingoism • How it effects the society andthe individuals, • How it crushes the economy and the system, • How it disintegrates the family structure, • how it demolishes the psychology of the people and how it creates generation gap How this influence results in Nothingness, Hollowness and Purposelessness
Sean O’Casey was born in 1818 and died in 1964. The play has been written on the background of Irish Civil War, which has been going for centuries.
Irish Civil War Juno and the Paycock: Jingois
Jingoism flag waving “an appeal intended to arouse patriotic emotions”
Jingoism is extreme patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy. In practice, it is a country's advocacy of the use of threats or actual force against other countries in order to safeguard what it perceives as its national interests. Colloquially, it refers to excessive bias in judging one's own country as superior to others—an extreme type of nationalism. • The term originated in Britain, expressing a pugnacious attitude toward Russia in the 1870s, and appeared in the American press by 1893
WWI – Irish War • Main Ireland got independence after the First World War • Ireland is divided into Southern and Northern Ireland. • Northern Ireland is now called Ulster. The people of main Ireland are Roman Catholic. The majority of Ulster is Anglican. So there is political and religious problem. • (i)Either to unite with main IrelandOR(ii)To unite with EnglandOR(iii)To be total independent was the main problem or enigma.
“Juno and the Paycock” War at its background (like O’Casey’s other plays) O’Casey is very much against the war fought under any pretext. He closely observed • how war affects the society andthe individuals, • how war crushes the economy and the system, • how war disintegrates the family structure, • how it demolishes the psychology of the people and how it creates generation gap.
O’Casy’s Position Thus O’Casey condemns…
Social Unjust, Inequality Violence • The play begins with Mary’s reading a newspaper. The very first information we get form the play is of a gruesome murder. • “On a little bye-road, out beyantFinglas, he was found.”
Social Unjust, Inequality Violence O’Casey evidently has sympathies for the poverty stricken and war ridden Irish society. There is nothing predicable in Ireland. Everyone is in extreme danger. They are hanging between life and death.
Social Unjust, Inequality Violence Brutality: Foreign to Irishmen There are lots of references in the play regarding Ireland‘s religious and political history. • Irish makes many attempts to shake off the foreign yoke. Foreigners are very inhuman to them. In 1916, hundred of casualties and the execution of the leaders are faultless examples of that.
Social Unjust, Inequality Violence Inhumanity: Irishman to Irishman • But this inhumanity is not just caused by foreigners. The real problem arises with the killing of Irishman by Irishman. • War, or to be more exact, a civil war has no solution to man’s problem; rather it aggravates the miseries of victims. The civil war is not confined to two fractions rather it expands to the whole Ireland. The death of Robbie Tancred and Johnny Boyle are perfect examples of that.
Social Unjust, Inequality Violence • Johnny, who has lost an arm and has a hip shattered in a fight, is at the end dragged away and shot by his former republican commanders because he betrayed comrade Tancred. • All this shows that Ireland is preying on herself. Earlier Johnny had undoubtedly behaved heroically but the hellish civil war compelled him to betray his comrade. • This means the stupid civil war is turning into traitors because of its nothingness and hollowness purposelessness.
Social Unjust, Inequality Violence Mirrorism: Inhumanity vs. Humanity • Juno emerges as a great humanist and realist. • She is a true pacifist and is against man’s inhumanity against man. • She has an acute observation and knows about the truth of things. • She is very realist and anti-idealist. When Mary emphasizes that one ought to stand by one’s principle being “a principle’s a principle” and tries to justify her call of strike, Juno very realistically remarks: • and • “When the employers sacrifice wan victim, the Trades Unions go wan betther be sacrificin’ a hundred.”
Social Unjust, Inequality Violence • Being a realist, she has a firm belief in the idea that the fault does not lie with the stars but with the people themselves. She says: • “Ah, what can God do agen the’ stupidity o’ men!”
Social Unjust, Inequality Violence • The domestic tragedy, which mainly springs out form pregnancy, is due to the inhumanity of themale. • That male chauvinist society cannot tolerate a mistake by a young girl. Whereas on the other hand the idiots like captain Boyle and Joxer Daly are left unaccountable. • Hope for a good time is only due to the courage of women. They are very humane and cooperative. • O’Casy’scriticism of life is conveyed through the repetition of significance of deep dialogues. The words of Mrs. Tancred lamentation are pungently recorded by Juno, when she too, is mourning over a slain son.
Social Unjust, Inequality Violence • “Sacred Heart of the Crucified Jesus, take away our hearts o’ stone……..an’ give ushearts o’ flesh! ……..Take away this murdherin’ hate … an’ give us Thine own eternal love!” • Against the vanity and moral bankruptcy of masculine character, O’Casey elevates the mother figure when Juno plans to work for Mary and her unborn child. Juno suffers the pain of existencebut she sustains life.
Social Unjust, Inequality Violence Appearances vs. Reality • The opportunist class represented by Nugent has also been condemned. • According to O’Casey this opportunist class is more harmful than even the combatants. • They themselves become the cause of civil war and play a double role. Nugent wants other to respect “Irish people national regard for the dead” but stitches suits for the civil guards at night.
Social Unjust, Inequality Violence • Thus, we see O’Casey very beautifully depicts • man’s inhumanitytowards women • man’s inhumanitytowards man O’Casey is at heart a humanist and a pacifist. He considers life mere inevitable and all idealism is subservient to it. He condemns all principles and gives one and the only principle to live all the days of life peacefully.
Principles vs. Materialism "Principle" and Reality, or O'Casy's Materialism
Principles vs. Materialism As O'Casey linguistically presents a version of materialism in Irish political strife, does he thematically treat the conflict between theory and reality in the play?
Principles vs. Materialism Within Juno and the Paycockitself, there are two opposing views of the relationship between theory or "principle" and material reality.
Principles vs. Materialism On one hand, the betrayal of principles has tragic consequences: • Johnny is killed for his betrayal of his comrade Tancred; • Mary is pregnant out of wedlock; Boyle is left again impoverished; and • the family is humiliated. On the other hand, principles have left Johnny armless and Mary unemployed.
Principles vs. Materialism References… • Mary, defending her labor strike to her mother says, "a principle's a principle;" in contrast, • Joxer, Captain Boyle's drinking companion, contends, "It's betther to be a coward than a corpse!", and • Mrs. Boyle tells her son "Ah, you lost your best principle, me boy, when you lost your arm; them's the only sort o' principles that's any good to a workin' man."
Principles vs. Materialism • Ronald Ayling argues that the play is centrally concerned with betrayal, as • Bentham betrays Mary; • Johnny betrays Tancred; and • Boyle's indifference amounts to a "betrayal of life.“ • Mary also is a traitor: she abandons Jerry her materialist principles to take up with a man without dogma.
Principles vs. Materialism Nothingness, Purposlessness • In her apparent rejection of "principles", Mrs. Boyle is a truly heroic figure, particularly at the beginning of the play, when she is the only member of the family who is precluded from work on account of principle (Mary and Johnny) or lack thereof (Captain Boyle). • Mrs. Boyle's necessary materialism neither dooms nor saves her but rather leaves her as a suffering survivor with a dead son, the same shiftless husband she had in the beginning, and a pregnant daughter, whom she comforts when Mary laments the fatherlessness of her child, saying, "It'll have what's far betther-- it'll have two mothers."
Principles vs. Materialism The play ends both with the condemnation of "principles" as Mrs. Boyle says "Ah, why didn't I remember that then he wasn't a Diehard or a Stater, but only a poor dead son!", and the depiction of the utter degradation of the indifference that Boyle and Joxer represent.
Principles vs. Materialism Given O'Casy's apparent rejection of both abstract "principle" (Irish Independence, labor rights) and its absence, the play puts forth a quotidian heroism in the form of Mrs. Boyle.
Principles vs. Materialism Mrs. Boyle is not without principles like her husband; she is anything but indifferent. However, her principle- supporting and protecting her family- is firmly grounded in material reality and is divorced from political and economic theory.
Principles vs. Materialism Nothingness and Hollowness Purposelessness Tellingly, Mrs. Madigan shouts at the police: "For you're the same as yous were undher the British Government-- never where yous are wanted! As far as I can see, the Polis as Polis, in this city, is Null an' Void!“ Regardless of the political status of Ireland, the material reality for its citizens remains the same, particularly in the wake of continued interfactional violence.
Juno and the PaycockDeterioration of a Relationship • “Juno and the Paycock” by Sean O’Casey is set in the background of the Irish Civil War. • Throughout the play, we can see the titular character’s, Juno Boyle and Jack Boyle, relationship deteriorate , and how dramatic events in their lives and the lives of their children, Johnny and Mary, cause the entire family to collapse.
Background and its Relevance • The play is set closely following the signing of the treaty dividing Ireland into sections • It features the resulting conflict between the diehardswho want a united, free Ireland, and the free-staters, who support the treaty, • The conflict represents the clash of fanatical nationalism and practicality, of idealism and a recognition that what the people truly wanted was peace.
The play explores some of the relevant ideas of the time, including the poverty, religious attitudes and escapism of the working class in Dublin in the 1920‘s, and • how these characteristics affected the communities that lived within the tenements of Dublin at this time.
Deterioration of a Relationship: Poverty • In the first act we see a great deal of conflict between Juno and Boyle. • The root of this conflict lies in Boyles inability to accept responsibility for supporting his family, as he refuses to seek work and spends his days drinking with his manipulative, scrounging friend Joxer.
Deterioration of a Relationship: Poverty • Juno is forced to act as wife, mother and sole source of income for the family, • the prime motivation for this character being to keep her ragged family unit together“Who has kep th’ home together for the past few years - only me”
Deterioration of a Relationship: Poverty • This introduces us very early on to the theme of poverty in the play. The tension in the relationship is directly linked to poverty throughout the play, • Boyle’s lack of responsibility causing conflict between him and Juno when their financial situation is bad. “Your poor wife slavin to keep the bit in your mouth…”We can see O’Casey present both the positive and negative aspects he perceives in poverty.
Contrasting effect • We see Boyle contrast the strength and ability that destitution can invoke through the character of Juno
Deterioration of a Relationship: Religion • There are also a variety of different religions, and attitudes expressed throughout the play. • One of O Casey’s chief mottos in the play seems to show the co-existence of strong religious convictions, together with a sincere and humane commitment to one’s fellowman.
Religious Conflict Novena is a recitation of prayers and devotions for a special purpose during nine consecutive days
Religious Conflict Apparently we find Marry as supporting Juno’s beliefs but her acts Convey it all the opposite- matching Bentham’s
Deterioration of a Relationship: Idealism and Reality The writer dramatizes the conflict between the dream world and the world of reality and shows what happens with relationships when a character is stripped of his/her illusions and forced to face reality.
Deterioration of a Relationship: Idealism and Reality Juno is portrayed as a character of practicality and realism