Juno and the Paycock - Deterioration of a Relationship Essay

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“Juno and the Paycock” by Sean O’Casey is set amidst the height 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. The play is set closely following the signing of the treaty dividing Ireland into sections and features the resulting conflict between the diehards who want a united, free Ireland, and the free-staters, who support the treaty, with this conflict representing the clash of fanatical nationalism and practicality, of idealism and a recognition that what the people truly wanted was peace. The play also explores some of the…show more content…
However, the converse of this is also true. When, in the second act, the Boyles become apparently more affluent, we can see a greater degree of affection come to the fore of the relationship. The windfall of the will causes Juno to treat Boyle less as a child who must be nagged and scolded to perform any useful, or at least less detrimental, role in the family she holds so dear, and more as the head of his family, a role she previously fulfilled. This change in attitude is regarded by Boyle as him merely him finally getting the respect he believes he deserves.

“I’m masther now, an’ I’m goin to remain masther” This period of happiness is quickly dispelled when it is revealed that Boyle has deceived the family, allowing them to continue to spend money that he knows they do not have and are never going to get. This demonstrates to us his inability to accept any form of responsibility and signals the end of the period of good luck for the Boyles and the culmination of the intertwining storylines of the play. In the third act the affection that marks Boyle and Juno’s relationship I the second act is dispelled entirely, only to be replaced by bitter conflict and the eventual dissolution of their entire family. Throughout the play, Juno’s main purpose is to support and hold together her family but in this final act all her efforts are worthless as the actions and attitudes of the other members of
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