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The Plough & The Stars Essential Revision Notes

November 4, 2016

The Plough & The Stars Essential Revision Notes

Studying Plough & The Stars?

‘Your vanity’ll be th’ ruin of you an’ me yet.’

Are you studying The Plough & The Stars as the Single Text for the Leaving Cert? is here to help you, with in-depth revision notes covering everything you need to know and Sample Answers to help you understand, approach, & answer exam questions. All prepared by subject experts with years of experience. 

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The home of Jack and Nora Clitheroe. It consists of two rooms of what was once a fine old Georgian house and is now a tenement building. It is obvious that someone has taken some trouble to try to make this humble home look a little elegant and refined. There are pictures on the wall and a bowl of flowers on the chest of drawers

The room serves as a kitchen, a sitting room and the Clitheroe’s bedroom. The settee near the fire becomes Jack and Nora’s bed at night. From the street outside comes the clattering and banging of workmen repairing the road.

Plot – Acts I-IV

Fluther Good is repairing the door to the Clitheroe’s home. He is a man of forty, fond of the drink. Peter Flynn is sitting by the fire, airing a white shirt. He is a small, thin man with a straggling, wiry beard. He appears to resent Fluther’s presence in the room but says nothing. He is wearing a vest and breeches.

A voice is heard outside. It is the Clitheroe’s neighbour, Mrs. Gogan. She is a fidgety,
talkative little woman of about forty. Mrs. Gogan is outside the door, talking to an unseen
deliveryman who has a package for Nora Clitheroe. As Nora is out, Mrs. Gogan signs for the parcel and brings it into the Clitheroes’ home. Her curiosity leads her to open the box and take out the fancy hat it contains.

Mrs. Gogan remarks that Nora Clitheroe has pretentions of grandeur and believes herself better than the other tenement dwellers. Fluther speaks up, saying that Nora is a pretty girl but Mrs. Gogan is scornful of this, saying that Nora dresses in too revealing a manner for a married woman. 

Sample answer

Character Analysis – Jack Clitheroe

Much insight into O’Casey’s characters can be gleaned from the stage directions with which O’Casey introduces them. With Jack Clitheroe, our impression is of a weak individual unlikely to be a heroic figure in the play: "His face has none of the strength of Nora’s. It is a face in which there is the desire for authority but without the power to attain it". Jack’s role in the play is a reactive rather than proactive one.

Early in the play we learn that Jack’s dedication to the Republican cause is not absolute. His role in the Citizen’s Army is, at best, conditional on him gaining promotion.

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