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Discuss the view that the play Translations by Brian Frieldeals with significant issues...

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harshiljhoolun | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted April 25, 2013 at 5:00 PM via web

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Discuss the view that the play Translations by Brian Frieldeals with significant issues both in and outside the play.

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sensei918 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted April 30, 2013 at 5:16 PM (Answer #1)

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Brian Friel's play Translations deals with significant social issues, both from a historical perspective and a current social perspective. Set in 1833, the play tells the story of one Irish village's reaction to being occupied by British troops. The title comes from the fact that, when they were mapping the area, the British took it upon themselves to "translate" or Anglicize the place and street names from the original Irish language (Gaelic), thus destroying the people's history of themselves and assimilating them into the British Empire.

You can look at the issue from the perspective of history. This is something that actually happened and caused the ongoing strife between the Irish and the British that still happens today. You can also look at the broader issue of how language shapes culture and is a big part of how a society sees itself. In addition, you can apply the events and themes of the play to an examination of how any assimilated people survive and retain a collective identity, such as native Americans or Africans brought over to the Americas as slaves. The small town of Baile Baeg is a microcosm for what happens when people's identities are co-opted by a conquering culture.  

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