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The Plough and the Stars Use of Language Sample Answer

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Language in the play, The Plough and The Stars 4

Language in the play, The Plough and The Stars

The language used by O’Casey in this play is an important feature in creating the sense of Dublin as it was at the time of the Rising. As the majority of characters in the play represent inner-city dwellers, it is the language of this class that forms the backbone of much of the dialogue in the play. However, one of the major criticisms directed at the play at the time of its first production was that the language was unrealistic and was too crude and earthy to represent the citizens of Dublin. Indeed, some of the actors refused to speak some of the lines, something that resulted in cast changes before the opening performances.

Much of the crudity of language is contained in the lines spoken by Rosie Redmond and in the various passages of verbal abuse involving characters such as The Covey, Bessie Burgess, Fluther and Jack. The various passages of verbal abuse – in which The Covey calls Peter "a little malignant oul’ bastard" and "a lemon whiskered oul’ swine"; in which Jack refers to Bessie as "that old bitch"; in which Fluther refers to The Covey as "a lowser"; where Bessie refers to Nora as "a little overdressed throllop" – all reflect what O’Casey considered to be the authentic speech and idioms of the tenement dwellers.

However, as with most dramas, an element of poetic licence is afforded to the playwright; here, O'Casey condenses the language of the tene...

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