Hugh Leonard Writing Styles in The Au Pair Man

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Allegory of Character, Action, and Setting

Political allegory in The Au Pair Man extends beyond the two main characters to a character that does not physically appear. This is Wilson, Eugene's predecessor as Mrs. Rogers's au pair man. When Wilson emerges from his time with Mrs. Rogers, he is emaciated and worn out. On the literal level, this is a comic comment on Mrs. Rogers's sexual appetite. On the level of political satire, this probably refers to the Irish potato famine between 1845 and 1850. Britain is widely considered to have been partly responsible for the famine, because of British-imposed land ownership laws and changes in the rural economy brought in by British and Anglo-Irish landlords.

The play's setting also carries a great deal of allegorical significance. Mrs. Rogers's dilapidated house stands for the declining British Empire. The fact that Mrs. Rogers believes she owns it and later finds out that...

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