Sean Ocasey Essay, Research Paper
Sean O Casey was born John Casey in 1880 in the Dublin slums. He changed his name early on in his carreer, because of his strong attraction to Celtic nationalism. He adopted the Gaelic name O’Cathasaigh, which phonetically in English, O’Casey. All his life he suffered with very bad eyes. As a child he had an ulcerated cornea in his left eye, leaving him with sight in one. This caused his vision to be very dim and un-clear. He lived every day of his life with an increasing threat of total blindness. His disability effected his education. His schooling was very limited, and he learned threw his own books and novels, along with radio education programs.
O’Casey’s first three plays were realistic plays about the slums of Dublin. These three plays are often referred to as the Dublin trilogy. All three were performed in the Abbey Theatre in 1923, 1924, and 1926. The Shadow of a Gunman, which is about the terrors of the “Black and Tans” in Dublin. Juno and the Paycock had an Irish Civil War theme to it.
The third in the Dublin trilogy was, The Plough and the Stars, which was dedicated to his mother and was his most famous play. It focused on the Easter Rebellion and the Irish Citizen Army. This play caused a riot in society, because it characterized Irish people as predominantly drinkers, mocking Irish culture. This play provoked public outcry mainly because of O’Casey’s consistent refusal to glorify the violence of the nationalist movement. Instead he mocked the heroics of war and presented the theme that dead innocent people far out numbered the dead heroes. After this play turned audiences against him, O’Casey fled to England, never to return to Ireland.
“Roses don’t grow around tenement doors; pianos are rare in rooms; but brave people are there, and many have wider visions and more original chatter than others who come from dignified college or glossier high school.” O Casey
(Purple Dust in Their Eyes)
His next play, The Silver Tassie was a tragic/comedy based on the cruel horrors of World War I. It showed the price, which the common people have to pay for the stupidities of war. William Butler Yeats said that this play, “had no subject” and that he was “not interested in the Great War”. This was rejected by the Abbey Theatre in 1928, but was successfully produced in London and New York in 1929.
“(O Casey) wrote the most glorious English of his era the English nearest in color and strength to the Elizabethan … He had the moral courage of an idealist. Whatever his religious ideas may have been, I think God had reason to be proud of Sean O’Casey.”- Brooks Atkinson
Sean O Casey also wrote many autobiographical works. Six were published individually, and were put together in a published collection in, Mirror in My House in 1956. The main character in these autobiographies is Johnny-Sean-Casey-Casside-O’Casey, who is mainly an optimist who finds happiness in everything.
“Like the voluble characters in his plays, O’Casey can be profligate and exuberant with words, playing with their sounds and meanings, indulging in the Joycean game of puns, parodies, malapropisms and comic invective.” -David Krause (speaking about the autobiography)
O Casey works threw out his life, effected people all over, especially people of Irish heritage. His numerous plays and autobiographies impacted peoples lives immensely.
+Goldstone, Herbert: In Search of Community. The Achievement of Sean O’Casey (Cork; Dublin, 1978).
+O’Casey, Sean: Three Plays. Juno and the Paycock, The Shadow of a Gunman,
The Plough and the Stars (London, 1980).
+Rollins, Ronald Gene: Sean O’Casey’s Drama. Verisimilitude and Vision (Alabama, 1979).
+Simmons, James: Sean O’Casey (London, 1983).