Translations Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 24 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Translations.
This section contains 441 words
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Translations Summary & Study Guide Description

Translations Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Translations by Brian Friel.

Translations is a three-act play set in the tumultuous nineteenth century country of Ireland. The action takes place in a hedge-school where students are faced with the invasion of English speaking soldiers. One of these soldiers falls in love with an Irish girl and then mysteriously goes missing. The son of the master of the hedge-school is forced to go into hiding to keep from being condemned for the crime, although he is not responsible for the soldier's disappearance. Translations is a play about love, tradition, and the circumstances that force the break with these traditions.

The first half of Act one sets up the atmosphere of the city of Baile Beag and introduces the main characters. Midway through this act Owen, one of the head master's sons, returns from Dublin. Much to his brother and father's dismay Owen is employed by the British army to help make a new map of Ireland. It is Owen's job to translate conversations between the English speaking soldiers and Irish speaking citizens of the town. Unfortunately, Owen does not do a very adequate job of translating Lancey's words. He does not tell the students this map making project is a military operation.

In the second act of the play Owen and Yolland begin to realize how difficult their project of translating all the Irish place names into their English equivalents will be. Owen is unsentimental about the project and sees it only as another job while Yolland actually develops a deep love for the Irish language, culture and country. Yolland also falls in love with Maire, a girl who attends the hedge-school. Up to this point it had been understood that Maire and Manus would get married. When Manus sees Maire and Yolland embracing after a dance he goes after Yolland with a stick. Although Manus does not injure Yolland, Yolland goes missing the next day. Manus runs away because he is afraid he will be arrested in connection with Yolland's disappearance.

In the final act of the play Captain Lancey issues a warning to all the citizens in Baile Beag that the entire city will be destroyed if Yolland is not found. It appears Doalty plans to help organize some type of uprising against the English army with the help of the Donnelly twins. The play ends with an atmosphere of uncertainty. Yolland has not been located and no one seems to have information about where he might be. The futures of the various characters included in the play are also unclear. The play closes with Hugh attempting to quote from Greek mythology, an attempt at which he fails.

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This section contains 441 words
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