The Lieutenant of Inishmore, by Martin McDonagh

Essay by massi1234University, Bachelor'sA+, May 2005

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"Four dead fellas, two dead cats, my hairstyle ruined!", sighs Davey. "So all this terror has been for absolutely nothing?", asks Davey, to whom Padraic's dad replies, "It has!" This is the quotation that I, personally, found the most interesting in the whole play.

The escalating carnage, which we have been exposed throughout the play, represents the author's miniature vision of a country floored [knocked down] by self-extinction: with this, he has tried to depict, although a bit too surrealistically, the violent extremism that the people of Northern Ireland have to face, live with, and cope with daily. This play looks like a satire on the mind-set that has led to cycles of violence and self-revenge in Ireland. It portrays the INLA as a place for psychopaths, tainted by nationalism, addicted to a murderous violence that proves to be by the end only futile and just self-destructive. The author is very pungent on the absurdity of how terrorists could cynically torture and murder human beings, yet are desperately concerned about the welfare of a cat.

The play makes a poignant farce out of desperate, violent gun-toting people whose ideological convictions are shallow, as well as irrational or ruthless. Perhaps, he wants to show us the hypocrisy of these people, who can cry over 2 dead cats (Wee Thomas and Sir Roger), but who are capable of martyrizing and finishing off both friends and family without thinking of it twice.

The danger that one might think the author has been exposed by advertising this play is that this satire could boost the English belief that all Irish fanatics are psychos. However, the quotation above, which suggests that all the violence involved in the comedy has been for nothing, raises doubtful questions about the political advances that terrorism and its supporters may...

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