uno and the Paycock
“O’Casey’s women in Juno and the Paycock are strong and admirable characters”.
Juno and Mary Boyle’s lives aren’t very pleasant in this 1920’s play which is separated into three acts which contain a mixture of both tragic and humorous elements. Juno, the wife of Captain Boyle, is the mother of two children who are in constant need of attention from her. Furthermore, as the play continues this need of attention grows with the facts of financial difficulties, the pregnancy of Mary (daughter) and also her son’s, Johnny, death in the end.
O’Casey clearly shows that Juno certainly has her work cut out for her, as she is not only the one person in the family who has a job, but also she is the house-wife and must render her family by making all the meals, going to buy the groceries, doing any form of house work and looking after the family in general. For example, on page 8 she says, “I killin’ meself workin’,” and also on page 12 she says, “Your poor wife slavin’ to keep the bit in your mouth…” these two references show just how hard Juno works to keep her family happy and alive. This is not made any easier when Mr. Boyle spends any money Juno has saved, in hope for any decent future for the family, on alcohol in the local pub. Therefore Juno cannot afford any type of luxuries for herself as she definitely does deserve it. The poverty is evident on page 12 in Juno’s comment to Mr. Boyle, “eat your breakfast… it may be the last you’ll get for I don’t know where the next one is goin to come from.” But even this will not cause concern for Juno’s principles when on page six we learn that Juno is against Trade Unions, “When the employers sacrifice wan victim, the Trade Unions go wan betther be sacrificin’ a hundred.” Then Mary tells her that, “a principle’s a principle”, but Juno stays realistic and thinks well it’s all good and well having principles – if you can afford them. She is the one who seems to keep the...
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