Brendan Behan Writing Styles in The Hostage

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Behan's play is set in a run-down lodging house in Dublin. The lodging house was originally rented by Monsewer to be a safe-house for IRA soldiers on the run. However, financial constraints forced Monsewer and Pat to open the house to other people, to "all sorts of scruffy lumpers." Behan was a poet of the working-class, and he made working-class dialogue and character his forte. The setting allows him to run the gamut of characters and to exploit the comedic resources of such types. But Behan's decision is not a purely practical one: the brothel-cum-lodging house has rich symbolic resonance.

Maureen Waters has argued in The Comic Irishman that Behan's decision to set the play in a lodging house and a brothel demonstrates the denigration of Pat and Monsewer's Republican idealism and, indeed, of the "old Republican ideal." It might be more accurate to say that the setting...

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This section contains 1,080 words
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The Hostage from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.