The Green and the Red: Sean O'Casey . . . the Man and His Plays

The Green and the Red: Sean O'Casey . . . the Man and His Plays

The Green and the Red: Sean O'Casey . . . the Man and His Plays

The Green and the Red: Sean O'Casey . . . the Man and His Plays

Excerpt

From a survey of secondary material on Sean O'Casey, it is apparent that there has been little investigation of his works. There are no full-length studies and very few short ones. These short studies have appeared from time to time in various periodicals and have stressed, in the main, his contributions to Irish drama, his techniques and his exploitation of the Dublin scene. The writer has found no study based on the political and social aspects of his plays, though several studies have touched upon this phase of his work as background and explanatory material. This is surprising since many critics claim that one of the most important aspects of his plays, if not the most important, is his genius for viewing and expressing in dramatic form the political and social scene of our day. Joseph M. Hone writes that "his plays are sociological representations, an intelligent exploitation of the external features of life which has attracted his rich powers of observation . . ." Michael Macliammoir, in a speech, Problem Plays, remarks that O'Casey's plays deal so definitely with social conditions that what he has to say on just one social problem, for instance, housing, "could with advantage be read to the Dail and the Dublin Corporation . . . before every sitting." John W. Cunliffe defines the central motivating force in O'Casey's characters as one in which political ideals conflict with adverse material conditions:

--In the clash between the splendour of their political ideals and the squalor of their material surroundings he saw a dramatic irony as moving to tears and . . .

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