Brian Friel's "Translations" Essay

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Brian Friel's "Translations"

'Translations' by Brian Friel can be appreciated and understood without knowledge of Irelands social, political and linguistic history. It can be enjoyed simply as a drama that incorporates comedy, tragedy and romance. However, with a greater understanding of Irelands history, such as the effect the 'great famine' had on the ordinary people of Ireland the play *

In 'Translations' the people of Baile Beag show hostility towards the
English army who have been sent to anglicise the place names of the area. For hundreds of years the English had made incursions in to
Ireland. Many rebellions followed the conquest of Ireland, after which
Queen Mary Tudor became the Queen of England and Ireland and
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In 1782 the English conceded a new Irish parliament, it was independent but limited to Protestants. A rebellion for Irish independence followed in 1782 and was defeated at Vinegar
Hill. This event is mentioned in 'translations' as Jimmy Jack and Hugh both joined the rebellion, but returned home before the fighting. The
Act of union of Britanin and Ireland in 1800 created the united kingdom. However there was considerable discontent amoung many Irish who preferred independence. The act of Catholic emancipation in march
1829 allowed Catholics to vote and allowed Irish Cathoilc keader
Daniel O'Connel to take his seat in parliament.

Daniel O'Connel is meantioned in 'Translation' as the 'little Kerry politician' who was trying to encorage more Irish people to leard
English. In the play, Maire takes great interest in this and tells
Manus that ' we should all be learining English..the sooner we all learn to speak English the better' Daniel O'connell was an Irish agitator of the C19, and his main aim was to secure the repeal of the act of union,and re-create an independent Irish Parliament. This
Parliament would be dominated by the Catholic majority. He didn't want
Ireland to be completely independent from England but believed an independent parliament would make it easier to conduct the internal affairs of the country. Many people abjected to O'Connell's views, one of which was the necessity to speak
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