Sean O'Casey World Literature Analysis
O’Casey’s first three great plays set the tone for the rest of his work. In them, he portrays characters from society’s lower levels entangled in conflicts that they cannot control, understand, or accept. Such fundamental conflicts form the basis of his plays.
Two important features make the conflicts in O’Casey’s plays urgent and persuasive. One is his selection of character types. O’Casey’s characters are generally poorly educated, powerless, and vulnerable. Typically, they are the people whom society considers ignoble and lacking in value. Basing his imaginative concerns on such characters was, at the time O’Casey did it, both artistically daring and culturally provocative. Doing so is an aspect of his contribution both to world drama and to the literature of his own country, whose originality can easily be overlooked. Moreover, while O’Casey was not the first playwright to put such characters on the stage, and not the first Irish playwright to do so, his insightful and vivid delineation of their lives and times gives them a stature that they otherwise have difficulty in attaining.
The second factor that makes the basic, age-old conflicts in O’Casey’s work seem more immediate is its clear appeal to twentieth century audiences. The playwright’s first three plays were each greeted with varying though undeniable expressions of keen interest. As O’Casey’s subsequent career in the theater reveals, however, their...
(The entire section is 4191 words.)
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