Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Is Translations about Language or Politics? Essay -- English Literatur

Is Translations about Language or politics? Friel famously said of Translations, â€Å"it is about language and only language.† However, the political statement which Friel denies need not be active, but passive, as seeking an understanding of the situation must consider politics, however Friel actively avoids political comment perhaps due to the volatile situation in the 1980s when the play was first put on. D.H. Lawrence famously said, â€Å" Never trust the teller, trust the tale† and with that in mind, I wish to explore the reasons why audiences and readers may perceive translations as a political play. The action of the play over three acts shows the profoundly disturbing influence of the English domination over the Baile Beag community and its life. Lenin once said, â€Å"politics is who whom† considering who acts and who is acted upon. Exploring politics from this point of view, one is easily able to perceive the numerous political aspects of the play. One such clearly political aspect of the play is the colonial force arriving from England. A movement of armies from one country to another, is a clearly political act, â€Å"a gesture†, â€Å"to indicate a presence† as was Doalty’s movement of the Theodolyte. On the other hand, if the play is about language (as Friel says) then perhaps it is about language on two levels. On the one hand it considers language on an international level (for example, the Irish and English languages) whilst on the other it considers language on an interpersonal level, the way perhaps we â€Å"interpret between privacies† or our choice of individual words in our speech. There are numerous ways in which one may consider the play to be about national language. Many would consider language as ... ...haracters acting as a mouthpiece for Friel’s political points of view, and because of this, I believe Friel’s play must concern politics to some degree. In conclusion I believe Friel is telling a half-truth, when he says the play is about â€Å"language and only language.† This is true insofar as the only issue the play is directly and aggressively considering is the importance of language. However, I believe Friel knew all to well that anyone watching of reading the play would have to consider politics, at least on a social level, in order to fully understand the importance of the social and national issues in the play. Therefore, Friel’s play is neither a play solely about language (as he asserts) or solely about politics; the two are inextricably linked leaving us with a socio-political play which emphasizes the importance of language as a political tool.

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