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Poverty is one of the main topics explored in the play 'Juno and the Paycock' by Sean O Casey. At the time that the Irish were fighting for their independence from the grip of English rule, many of the ordinary people lived in squalor in overcrowded tenements without enough to eat. Many would have to steal or beg to get by, or take demeaning work in rat-infested neighbourhoods. The only way out of this grinding misery was through fantasy and many lived through imagining great stories of better lives. Sean O Casey contrasts the lives of these people with those who could afford the luxury of devoting energy to pursuing a 'free state.' Look out for all the references to poverty and imagination throughout the play.
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