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Translations by Brian Friel - The Characters

This presentation explains the symbolism of the characters in Translations
by

Mary Miller

on 23 April 2013

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Transcript of Translations by Brian Friel - The Characters

The Characters of:

by Brian Friel Translations Yolland represents the outsiders who love Ireland for what it is and don't want to change it
Yolland is a representation of New Ireland as he can speak English and is culturally English yet he loves the land and idea of Ireland
Yolland also represents the English connection that New Ireland will have and he is killed off by those who don't understand his love of Ireland and feel that his English connection must die
Yolland feels lost, the same as how new Ireland is lost and lacks a known direction Yolland Owen represents the people of Ireland who have left and been educated but have come back to their roots in Ireland
Owen is good friends with Yolland who represents new Ireland, implying that Owen represents those who think the idea of a new Ireland is a good thing
Being the son of an educating father Owen represents those who simply cannot adhere to the old education of the hedge schools Owen Hugh is often mocked behind his back and as he is a representaion of the hedge school system this shows how the English mock the hedge schools
Hugh is a symbol for the drinking problems in Ireland
At the end of the play Hugh comes around to believing that the Irish must adapt to the new Ireland, representing those who gave in to the English and the cultural changes Hugh Maire represents the exodus of people from Ireland as she wishes to go live in Brooklyn or somewhere other than Ireland
She is unable to truly connect with old Ireland (Manus) or new Ireland (Yolland, who she cannot actually understand)
Although she wants to go elsewhere she keeps coming back to the hedge school, representing the Irish who were never able to fit in to the culture or find their identity wherever they went Maire Manus represents old Ireland and his handicap symbolizes old Ireland from the eyes of the English
As the younger teacher at the Hedge School he represents the hedge schools handicap of not being a "modern" education system
As Old Ireland he does not get along with new Ireland (Manus) and cannot understand new Ireland
Old Ireland runs off at the end of the play, symbolizing how Ireland has been changed permanently by the English and Old Ireland will never exist again and life will never be the same Manus Sarah represents the large population of Ireland who have no voice in determining their future
Manus, as Old Ireland, is able to give Sarah a voice, but when Old Ireland leaves her voice is lost
When she speaks up to help Old Ireland (telling Manus about Maire and Yolland) things go wrong and Old Ireland is harmed. This represents how truly helpless much of the population feels as she is unable help the situation
She is told that she is "dumb" and as a representation of the voiceless Irish population this represents how the English think of them as "Dumb" Sarah Jimmy represents the writers, artists, and intelligent people of Ireland
Jimmy is old symbolizing how the English feel that his type of education is outdated
Jimmy is the "infant prodigy" who has failed to grow up with the rest of the world, just like Ireland has failed to grow up from the English viewpoint
Despite his education he is stuck in small town Ireland, unable to go to the "next level" of society and wealth that the English value
Jimmy represents the old Irish education becoming irrelevant Jimmy Lancey embodies the English presence in the play
While representing England, Lancey is unable to communicate with old Ireland and he takes away the voice of Sarah and the voice of the Irish
Lancey bosses around new Ireland (Yolland) and demands production from him, in the same way that the English would demand in the years to come
When new Ireland is threatened (in the case of the play its representative is killed), Lancey as England, acts severely to maintain "New Ireland"
Lancey seems unsure of himself early in the play, representing how the English are not sure how to deal with the Irish Lancey Doalty and Bridget represent the exuberant youth of Ireland who want to stand up and fight for the culture they have been raised in
They represent the careless Irish people who are not worried about the repercussions of defying the English and their idea of "new Ireland"
They are loud and excited to signify their extreme will to fight for their "old" country Doalty and Bridget The Donnelly twins represent the extreme Irish who have existed as long as Ireland has and still exist today
They represent the physical push to maintain old Ireland but they lack a true connection to Old Ireland and Manus. As a result, their actions are oversighted and actually cause harm for old Ireland
Much like today's extremists in Ireland, the Donnelly twins are not outspoken but rather they let their actions speak for them The Donnelly Twins The Hedge School is the main set for the play and most of what we learn comes from people speaking in the school
The school represents the community of Dun Na Gall and the sense of community in Ireland as a whole. Everyone is welcome in the hedge school and losing it represents Ireland losing its old sense of community The Hedge School Manus, Owen, and Yolland
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