In the first act we see a great deal of conflict between Juno and Boyle. The root of this conflict lies in Boyles inability to accept responsibility for supporting his family, as he refuses to seek work and spends his days drinking with his manipulative, scrounging friend Joxer. Juno is forced to act as wife, mother and sole source of income for the family, the prime motivation for this character being to keep her ragged family unit together
“Who has kep th’ home together for the past few years - only me”
This introduces us very early on to the theme of poverty in the play. The tension in the relationship is directly linked to poverty throughout the play, Boyle’s lack of responsibility causing conflict between him and Juno when their financial situation is bad.
“Your poor wife slavin to keep the bit in your mouth…”
We can see O’Casey present both the positive and negative aspects he perceives in poverty. We see him contrast the strength and ability that destitution can invoke through the character of Juno, and the...