How does the setting affect the overall outcome in the short story "The Sniper" by Liam O'Flaherty?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting of Liam O'Flaherty's "The Sniper" is very important to the story as a whole. The setting (time and place) is openly defined in the initial paragraph of the text. It is a summer night in Dublin. The limited light of the partial moon is clouded. These descriptions are important given it sets the scene as one with limited views and secrecy. The characters in the play are also clouded, symbolically. None are given names, so as to illuminate the importance of the cloudy and limited light. 

The protagonist is set upon a rooftop, taking aim at a sniper on another building. Neither know the identity of the other, which compounds the setting's blindness. By the end, the protagonist's shot has succeeded at killing the enemy sniper--his brother.

Here the setting becomes even more important. The fact that the setting is limited in light and dark encompasses the idea that the sniper has killed his brother. If it would have taken place during hours of light, the sniper may have been able to identify the enemy sniper as his brother. Unfortunately, the setting added a sense of masking and the unknown. Therefore, the setting's dark atmosphere adds, not only to the suspense of the actions described, but the dark murder of one brother by another.