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By Robert G. Lowery

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Synge and O'Casey also took a similarly ironic or double view of their second-bananas, the Dan Burkes and Michael James Flahertys, the Philly Cullens and Jimmy Farrells; the Adolphus Grigsons and Joxers, the Coveys and Uncle Peters. And they relied upon the same process of comic discrediting to expose the warts on their liberated women clowns, the Mary Byrnes, Mary Douls, and Widow Quins; the Jinnie Gogans, Bessie Burgesses, and Rosie Redmonds. Synge and O'Casey also introduced an ironic method of ending their plays on an anti-climactic note which partially deflects the audience's attention away from the main action so that there are no melodramatic tableaux or happy solutions at the final curtain, no taint of sentimentality or heroics.

Reality is always the enemy in Synge's plays, in all Irish comedy, and the only alternative, for the repressed villains of Mayo as well as for the outcast Christy, is the wild dream of an impossible life. The Mayo people win and lose Christy; he wins and loses Pegeen. Christy's impossible dream is constantly being won and lost as the spectre of his murdered father keeps haunting him in the midst ofhis 40 O'Casey Annual No. 1 apparent victories. And just when ignominious defeat seems inevitable at the end of the play, after the unpredictable villagers forsake their dream of reflected glory and revert to their repressed and lawabiding ways, Christy is suddenly released and resurrected.

But as it will be observed, form and content are remarkably O'Casey's own, with imitation entirely out of the question. HIS FATHER'S WAKE One morning, when Johnny Casside is six, almost seven, 12 he awakes to learn of his father's death, and to be caught up as a bystander in the strangely quiet, business preparations for wake and funeral. The focus of attention has shifted from him to the generality ofhis family and its mute reception of death's mystery. Older brothers wander aimlessly throughout the rooms of their tenement, preoccupied now and then with disturbing thoughts; and Ella, as ever, concerned with appearances and the opinions of others, is glad "that mother has decided in having a closed-in hearse, for people that are anything at all always use a closed in hearse" (IKATD, p.

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