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Translations Essay -- Literary Analysis, Brian Friel

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INTRO Although the location, language and structure of Brian Friel's Translations differs unmistakably from that of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the topic of colonisation remains central to both.

Translations is a three-act play by Irish playwright Brian Friel, written in 1980

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In this paper I will discuss this play as an examination of language as a defining characteristic of a particular culture and its consequent power as a colonizing tool, the way language and communication can manifest themselves as positive or negative influences and how Friel exposes the violence, figurative and literal, suffered by the Irish people as a result of these translations.

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Watching Adrian Dunbar’s moving production of Brian Friel’s at the Kings in Edinburgh last week, it was difficult not to apply the message to 21st Century Scotland. Set in the early nineteenth century, the play explores the difficulties of dealing with a culture which is alien to the local people. A platoon of British soldiers, notionally engineers, is overtly engaged in an ordinance survey map of the area but in reality their true purpose, with the help of local collaborators, is the translation of Gaelic place names into the King’s language. It is the work of supremacist colonialists, a template for the creation of the British Empire. They believed that the extinction of the language would create a modern English colony akin to any part of the homeland. The local people were confused and drawn in different directions – they chose escapism in various forms.

Brian Friel's Translations - Brian ..