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Word Count: 1,454
In Translations Brian Friel explores the nature and the use of language its immense value as well as its limitations One large theme he develops is the relationship between language culture and identity and the dilemma that is caused as a result The play charts the tragic relations between Maire and Yolland the local Irish girl and the well-meaning English soldier He is misunderstood by the community which feels threatened by his invasive presence Indeed the English language is wiping out any trace of Irish culture changing the Ireland as a nation and Yollands job anglicising each and every place-name is contributing to this process Thus the relationship between these two lovers is destined to fail in a manner reminiscent of Romeo the Montague and Juliet the Capulet If only Irish and English could get along if only language were immaterial we are made to think these two clearly compatible beings could flourish together Their closeness and love is shown to be so powerful as to often not even require a language to express them MAIRE in Irish the grass must be wet My feet are soaking YOLLAND in English your feet must be wet The grass is soaking In the same scene Yolland tells Maire how he yearns to settle down in gay simple and hospitable Ireland and be with her always Maire too wants to be with him always but she on the contrary wants to be taken away from Ireland a society in which she feels constrained and unfulfilled this desire to leave Ireland puts strain on both her personal relationships and her attitude towards the rest of the community However it is still remarkable that the two should be able to have an intuitive conversation at all but there is a heavy irony in that Yolland and Maire are speaking at cross-purposes Maire desperately wants to learn English but the suggestion is that ambiguities such as these would remain as Hugh
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