Rose Dancing at Lughnasa

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‘Re-read Act 2 from page 56 (CHRIS: There she is!) to page 59 (KATE: what has happened to this house? Mother of God, will we ever be able to lift our heads ever again…? (Pause)). Discuss the presentation and role of Rose in this extract and elsewhere in the play. Although mentally handicapped, Rose Mundy is perhaps the most fearless of all her sisters. Her role in ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ is key in highlighting the morally and religiously restricting traits in her sister Kate as well as outlining the confining constraints of living in very rural Ireland. As the plot unravels, the audience become increasingly aware of Rose’s dispersing innocence when symbolic events such as the dead ‘stained’ rooster occur. As a result of her disability, ‘simple’ Rose is very vulnerable to the likes of the unseen character, Danny Bradley. Naturally, the sisters are cautious of Danny’s motives as they are aware of his marriage. At the beginning of Act 1 the girls warn Rose of what he is really like when she tells them “he wants to bring me up to the back hills”. Poor Rose is unaware of Danny Bradley’s obvious sexual intentions and attempts to justify her feelings with innocent remarks like “he calls me his Rosebud” which make the audience pity Rose even more as she is so unaware of the seediness that lies beneath it all. Rose becomes easily absorbed by her ideas of certain situations, the fact that she has only been with Danny Bradley for a short time and is already naïvely declaring that “I love him” suggests that she is very immature and especially susceptible to the false, grand illusion of love that Danny Bradley has exposed her to. This indication of Rose’s ability to become quickly engrossed into things is emphasised to the audience again when in the mad outburst of dance in Act 1 she is the only one left “dancing her graceless dance by herself” at the end. Moreover, suggesting that as the ‘simpleton’ she becomes the most easily engrossed and continues her dance to the end;...
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