Dancing at Lughnasa: The irish battle for independence 2

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Dancing at Lughnasa: The irish battle for independence 2

  1. 1. Jasper King THE IRISH BATTLE FOR INDEPENDENCE, PARTICULARLY RECENT HISTORY IN THE EASTER UPRISING AND THE ROLE OF DE VALERA
  2. 2. The Irish war of independence was a guerrilla war fought between the Irish Republican Army and the British Government and it’s forces in Ireland. The war was fought between 21 November 1919 to 11 July 1921. It was caused when the Irish Republicans won a landslide victory in the December 1918 election, consequently they formed a breakaway government and through this wanted independence from Britain. It was a rather bloody war with up to 300 people dead in 1920. Violence escalated during that year in November now known as Bloody Sunday. Fourteen British Intelligence operatives were assassinated and the RIC opened fire on a crowd at a football match in the afternoon. The result by 1921 was a ceasefire which resulted in the Anglo- Irish Treaty and the creation of the Irish Free State. By the end of the war total dead was 2,014. IRISH BATTLE FOR INDEPENDENCE
  3. 3. From the beginning of the play we know that Kate was involved in the War of Independence. We learn this through the quote that Michael says ‘But Aunt Kate had been involved in the War of Independence, so Father Jack's brief career in the British army was never referred to in that house’. Of course if Kate was fighting for the war of independence then she would disapprove of Jack’s involvement in the British Army because he was fighting for Britain who were of course in Ireland’s eyes the ‘enemy’. That’s why Jack’s involvement is hushed down because it brings shame upon the family because they would support Ireland’s actions for independence from Britain. Violence in the North and especially Belfast was notable for its sectarian character and its high number of Catholic civilian victims. This may of prompted Kate to fight in the War of Independence because she believes in Catholicism. LINKS TO DANCING AT LUGHNASA
  4. 4. The Easter Rising was the plan to revolt in Easter 1916, in which the Volunteers, now explicitly declaring a republic, launched an insurrection whose aim was to end British rule and to found an Irish Republic. The rising in which 400 people were killed was confined to Dublin. However, the killing of volunteers by the British Army meant support for the British Army was wane, and Irish public opinion was shocked and outraged by some of the actions committed by British troops this led to further support for the Sinn Fein party and their leader Eamon de Valera. EASTER RISING
  5. 5. We know that Aunt Kate had been involved in the War of Independence. However, there is further evidence that she may have also been a volunteer during the Easter Rising. Michael comments that she was involved ‘locally’. After all, The Easter Rising was only confined to Dublin, so this could suggest that she was involved in the early stages of the War of Independence, therefore she was a strong believer that Ireland should have independence and this could come down to her strong beliefs in Catholicism again. This is supported through the fact that the play is set during the festival of Lughnasa, a local pagan dance festival which Kate strongly disagrees with. This is further supported when the sisters want to go to the festival but Kate doesn’t, She comments ‘And they’ll be no more discussion about it. The matter’s over. I don’t want it mentioned again’. This suggests she is strongly against paganism and doesn’t want it mentioned within the household or let the sister’s show that they are in support of paganism by attending the festival. This shows her strong faith for Catholicism and ultimately why she was involved in the Easter Uprising and the War of Independence. LINKS TO DANCING AT LUGHNASA
  6. 6. De Valera was the leader in the 1916 Easter Rising which proclaimed an Irish republic. He later stood as a Sinn Fein candidate in the 1918 general election. Most importantly he won seats outside Ulster, however refused to take their seats at Westminster. Instead he established an independent parliament to govern Ireland and this was a catalyst for the Irish War of Independence. He became president of the Dail. De Valera was ultimately an inspirational figure to many Irish people who fought for independence in Ireland. During his final few years he changed the cultural identity of the Irish Republic as Roman Catholic and Gaelic was asserted. He died on 29 August 1975, however in his lifetime he revolutionised Ireland and it’s importance in the world. EAMON DE VALERA (1882-1975)
  7. 7. During the beginning of the play it is evident that De Valera’s influence is supported by the sisters. Maggie sings ‘Will you vote for De Valera, will you vote? If you don’t, we’ll be like Gandhi with his goat’. This just supports the fact that many Irish people, including Maggie and the sisters in Dancing at Lughnasa were in support of an independent Ireland. Friel uses the sisters in order to convey this idea, in a way they act as the majority of the Irish population as it is evident that this was a popular song during the time. LINKS TO DANCING AT LUGHNASA
  8. 8. It is interesting that through such a simple play that conveys the everyday lives of ordinary people, Friel ultimately conveys political ideologies and a wider contextual context throughout the majority of this play. He presents themes of religion and politics discretely through characters attitudes and this gives us a further insight into ideologies that dominated Ireland during the time this play was set. OVERVIEW

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