Sean O'Casey had a difficult life when he was growing up, but this did not prevent him increasing his knowledge and his motivation to learn. His father died when he was young leaving his family to fall into hardship and extreme poverty. He had few school friends as schooling was mostly at home because of health reason. It could be argued that O'Casey's upbringing influenced how he wrote 'Juno and the Paycock'. The hardship and poverty he experienced in his life are portrayed by the characters in the play.
Juno, the wife of Jack Boyle, is hardworking and slaves all day to provide for the family. In numerous ways she is like Sean O'Casey as they both show determination. In this essay I am going to explore how O'Casey create an effective and engaging opening. Stage Direction Sean O'Casey's play is set in the living room of a tenement house in Dublin during the years of the Irish Civil War 9122-1923. This helps to create an effective opening as it informs us about the conditions the Boyle family live in.
In O'Casey stage direction he uses many props to describe how the scene is set, it is effective because it helps us visualise their living conditions. The family have religious beliefs because in the living room there is " a picture of the Virgin; below the picture, on the bracket is a crimson bowl in which a floating votive light is burning" this indicates to us someone in the family needs protection. This engages us in the opening as we wonder who it may be. The living room is small which gives us the impression of a cramp environment.
There is even, "a small bed partly concealed by cretonne hanging strung on a twine". This creates an effective and engaging opening because of the confined living area for the family and portrays that conflict could be a problem. " On the mantleshelf is an alarm clock lying on its face" this indicates to us the family has no regard for time keeping and creates a lackadaisical impression. "On the table there are breakfast things for one" this engages us to wonder why the family don't eat breakfast together.
"Leaning against the dresses is a long handled shovel", his effect leaves us with the impression that it is not used regularly and is set to the side. O'Casey has created an effective and engaging stage directions of a family living in poverty during the Irish Civil War. Character - Juno Juno is married to Boyle, sometimes is refered to as 'Captain'. They have two children Mary and Johnny. At the beginning of the play Juno's character is introduced to us when she is speaking with Mary and enquires if Mr Boyle is home yet.
When Mary replies no, Juno describes Boyle to be " struttin' about the town like a paycock". This simile evokes the title of the play and makes the opening effective because it shows the rocky relationship between Mr and Mrs Boyle. When Mrs Boyle refers to Mr Boyle as a 'paycock' she is describing him as being proud, arrogant and useless. The word "paycock" is phonetical spelling for the word, peacock. Juno says "I'll not wait much longer for him" referring to Mr Boyle. This foreshadows the end of the play when she leaves him. This makes the opening engaging because we wonder how this will happen.
Juno is a selfless character because she is the only one working to provide for the family and when Mr a Boyle thinks she has gone to work he sits around, "to burn all the coal and dhrink all the tea in the place" with Joxer. This is engaging because it shows the relationship between the husband and wife. This quote is also interesting because 'dhrink' is phonetical spelling for drink. Juno is caring towards both her children, especially Johnny. When he asks for a "dhrink of wather" it is Juno who attends to him. This is effective because it shows how her relationship with her husband varies from the relationship with her children.
When Juno uses the parallel clauses this creates an effective opening, " he wore out the Health Insurance long, he's afther wearin' out the unemployment dole, an' now he's thryin' to wear out me! This describes the effect Boyle has on Juno, as he exhausts with his selfish character. When Juno is arguing with Mary, Juno's opinions are very realistic whereas Mary's are idealistic, Mary believes a 'principle is a principle'. The creates an engaging opening as it shown the difference in opinion the old and the young and all audiences can relate to this.
Boyle is soon to be entering the house singing a song " Sweet Spirit, hear my prayer! " Juno uses sarcasm and says "It's not for a job he's praying". This is effective and making the opening engaging because it adds a little humor to the play. Juno is used to Boyle tricks and when Boyle and Joxer enter the house, she hides from view. As both men are talking badly about Juno, she then comes forward and both men are stupefied. Juno, glaring at Joxer, says "pull over to the fire, an' we'll have a cup o' tay in a minute". This shows the dislike they have for each other making the opening effective.