Essay on ‘Making History’ by Brian Friel.

1782 Words Jan 24th, 2011 8 Pages
‘Making History’ by Brian Friel.

In this essay the author examines the extent to which Is the character of Hugh O’Neill is more influenced by private feelings or by public duty.

In Brian Friels play ‘Making History’ the reader wonders whether the character of Hugh O’Neill is more influenced by private feelings or public duty. By “private feeling’s” I mean beliefs, private views and opinions and his ‘public duty’ is his obligations to the Irish people. It should be noted that Friels portrayal of the character O’Neill caused great controversy amongst readers. The strong Irish man O’Neill was once seen as in history is no longer present. Instead we see a very complex and almost emotional character in Friel’s play. This leads us to
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This was to represent O’Neill in his later life. O’Neill ends his speech about England with “that trivial little hurt, that single failure in years of courtesy has pulled relentlessly in the corner of my heart. Until now. And for no reason that pulse is quiet and all my affection for Sir Henry returns without qualification. (Pause.) But all that is of no interest to anyone but myself.”
Here we see Hugh’s troubled mind. We see that he all of a sudden does not want to live up to his Great Irish name but instead live the way Sir Henry wanted him too. Friel’s use of the dramatic “(pause)” shows how Hugh’s mind is in constant battle. He is unaware what to do next. However it is because of his public duty that he realises this means nothing to anyone else but himself. Hugh realises he must continue in fighting against the English Rule and pushes his private feelings a side.

In the opening scene of the play we see a very different Hugh O’Neill to what the audience would previously have seen. Immediately we see him floating between romantic thoughts and business thoughts. He is distracted as he is thinking about the arrival of his new wife Mabel. Harry is trying to read letter’s to him and tell him the current news but Hugh is inattentive as he places flowers around the room. In this scene Friel uses the dramatic technique of imagery and symbolism again. On the surface, the flowers are seen as props but they are used as a