Religion in Juno and the Paycock
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Table of Contents
Religion is a theme used in many areas of literature to represent hope, faith, conflict and reconciliation. In this play, religion is not the most prominent theme, but could be viewed as a secondary and supportive one.
Within the introduction to the play ‘a picture of the Virgin’ is shown, as well as a votive candle which is lit. The symbolism of this candle is very important within the play; it represents hope for the Boyles family. Even though none of the family members speak of religion as a saving force they still are traditional with their respects to it.
At the beginning of Act Three, the votive light ‘burns stronger than ever’ but sadly whilst the family are departing and the removal men repossess their belongings, it finally goes out. This shows the end of hope for the family unit as it was, after this moment, everything has changed. The image of the Virgin is reflective of Juno herself, she is forever giving to her family without complaint and at the end she loses her only son.
Jack has a different attitude towards religion; he says to Joxer that he believes ‘the clergy always had too much power over the people of this unfortunate country.’ This is O’Casey using religion as a political tool to convey the aggravation of the working class towards the power of the religious body in Ireland.
As Jack is an unreliable character and is often seen speaking assuredly about matters he know...