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Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 536

The following is a list of quotes from George Bernard Shaw's comedic play, John Bull's Other Island. As you will see by reviewing the quotes many are relevant to the political climate in Dublin, Ireland, during Shaw's time, roughly around the turn of the twentieth century. It’s important to note that the play opens in Westminster, at the offices of Mr. Lawrence Doyle and Mr. Thomas Broadbent, two civil engineers, who are described as bachelors and “bosom friends.” Shaw provides incredible detail of the office to set the scene. The atmosphere of the office is described as a room “no woman would tolerate,” one that also holds the smell of tobacco. As the play begins, the time on the wall clock is 4:40 p.m. It’s a mild and pleasant summer afternoon in 1904.

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  • Broadbent: “I'm a Local Optionist to the backbone. You have no idea, Mr Haffigan, of the ruin that is wrought in this country by the unholy alliance of the publicans, the bishops, the Tories, and The Times. We must close the public-houses at all costs.”

  • Broadbent: “There are difficulties. I shall overcome them; but there are difficulties. When I first arrive in Ireland I shall be hated as an Englishman. As a Protestant, I shall be denounced from every altar. My life may be in danger. Well, I am prepared to face that.”

  • Broadbent: “Why are you so down on every Irishman you meet, especially if he's a bit shabby? poor devil! Surely a fellow-countryman may pass you the top of the morning without offense, even if his coat is a bit shiny at the seams.”

  • Doyle: “Is it possible that you don't know that all this top-o-the-morning and broth-of-a-boy and more-power-to-your-elbow business is as peculiar to England as the Albert Hall concerts of Irish music are?”

  • Doyle: “An Irishman's heart is nothing but his imagination.”

  • Doyle: “The inspired Churchman that teaches him the sanctity of life and the importance of conduct is sent away empty; while the poor village priest that gives him a miracle or a sentimental story...

(The entire section contains 536 words.)

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