Lies of Silence: Personal freedom is not viewed as important here. Throughout the text individuals are forced to do things by others that they do not wish to do, or others at least attempt to force them to do so, which is still indicative of a world where one’s personal freedom to choose what they wish to do is not valued. The IRA attempts to force Dillon to cooperate in the blowing up of the hotel he works, despite his obvious wishes not to – however he almost goes through with this, due to the threat to his life if he does not. However after this choice of personal freedom, others in the world around him attempt to make him submit to the will of the IRA, such as the parish priest. He attempts to convince Michael not to testify against a youth in the community who was one of those who held up Michael and his wife before attempting to use Michael to blow up the hotel. This is despite Michael’s wish to show the IRA he will not bow down and be controlled.
Playboy of the Western World: Personal freedom is accepted here, even if it involves such action as patricide (the killing a father). The Irish peasants view Christopher’s deed as necessary as it is steeped in mythical and preintellectual concepts – they even see it as admirable. This is added to by the fact that the violence occurred far aware and reaches them only by report of an intriguing visitor, so it exists for them only as a fantasy, not as a down-to-earth, blood deed: the murder is like another folktalke in which the hero gloriously kills all obstacles in his path, which contributes to their willingness to accept this personal freedom.
Lies of Silence: Here the ritual of self-isolation is prevalent. This is ritualistic of the world of the text, of Belfast, during the Troubles. In this world, when the IRA came into contact with individuals, many left Belfast, believing a life without the threat or control of the IRA, even away from their home, would always be more advantageous than remaining in Belfast with the threat of the IRA. Michael continues this ritual in the text as he leaves Belfast to begin a new life in London, to escape the threat of the IRA and a Belfast that is now tainted following not just his encounter with the IRA but his failed marriage. We see him begin a new job in a new hotel. He meets his girlfriend’s friends, and spends time with them. Details are given of his new flat. Such lengthy details of his life in new surroundings are given to emphasize how he has adopted a new life, and has isolated himself from his old life in London.
Playboy of the Western World: In PW the ritual is self-isolation. In the plays characters remove themselves from surroundings they are not satisfied with. Christy, at least supposedly, isolates himself from his familial surroundings as he tells of his splitting the skull of his harsh, unimaginative old father with a loy, due to his father’s taunting of his physical and sexual abilities. Elsewhere, Pegeen Mike deserts her relationship with her cousin whom she is to marry. She tires of the relationship and finally is allowed the opportunity to escape through her attraction to the utterances and valor of young Christy, who makes Shawn Keogh pale in insignificance.
Structures of worlds
Lies of Silence: The world is hierarchical. There are those who hold power over others. The most obvious form of this is the IRA, who control many in the world through fear, initially such as Dillon’s wife (although she reverses from this eventually). If they cannot control individuals in the world through fear, they use violent means to do so. Their bombing of the hotel at the text’s begninning is a way to assert and make clear their dominance in Belfast. Their treatment of Dillon and his wife, which borders on violent with masks and weapons, is a severely tame version of their violent ways, which involve shooting and killing, as we see tragically at the text’s end, in order to stop other characters from...
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