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The Hostage Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 76 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Hostage.
This section contains 1,444 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Hostage Study Guide

Themes

Irish Identity

The most important theme in The Hostage is Irish identity. Behan demonstrates that Irish identity is rooted in the memory of martyrdom and violence. But he also argues that Irish identity is not a concrete, easily fixed ideal but rather a confused concept. Behan explores this theme through a series of conversations between Meg and Pat.

The basic foundation of the plot, the impending execution of the IRA prisoner in Belfast, is made clear in the first seconds of stage time, and Monsewer's dirge alerts the audience to the fact that, for all the jigs and jollity, the play has a serious undercurrent and a potentially tragic conclusion. Within minutes, too, the play's central theme, the meaning of Irish identity, is made clear. Meg's opinion of the prisoner's impending death is romantically nationalist: he "did his duty as a member of the IRA," which proves beyond doubt...

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This section contains 1,444 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Hostage Study Guide
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The Hostage from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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