The Plough and the Stars Jack Clitheroe Character Analysis Sample Answer
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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. When we meet him in Act 1, he has severed his connections with the Citizen’s Army, supposedly out of loyalty to Nora, but in reality due to a fit of pique at not having gained promotion. When he learns that Nora has destroyed his letter of promotion and is informed by Brennan that Connolly has promoted him to the Commandant and given him charge of a battalion, he has a paradoxical reaction.
He no longer seems preoccupied by his marriage – his love scenes with Nora are ended abruptly and he purchases a Sam Brown belt to enhance his image as an important military figure. The purchase of the belt and his disappointment at not having gained promotion indicate that Jack’s involvement in the Citizen’s Army (and therefore the Republican movement) is to satisfy his own vanity.
His comments on Brennan wh...