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An in Depth of Johnny in Juno and the Paycock

An in Depth of Johnny in Juno and the Paycock

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Published by Nikhil A Bheeroo

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Published by: Nikhil A Bheeroo on Mar 13, 2012
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05/19/2015

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An in-depth analysis of Johnny in Act one Johnny Boyle is seen as a very intriguing character in the play „Juno and

the Paycock‟ by Sean O‟Casey. This may have been done purposefully by the author in order to create a certain image of Johnny, and also probably to help the plot to unfold. The personality of Johnny is indeed quite different to the personalities of the other characters, and this divergent personality shall be discussed in this essay. Act one starts off with a description of the apartment and the inhabitants, including Johnny. Johnny is seen to be “sitting crouched beside the fire”. This shows to the reader that not only is the latter cold, but in could also mean that he is constantly feeling unsecure, after the traumatising experience he underwent in war. The fire is a way for Johnny to feel safe and comfortable. At this point, it can be seen that war has deeply affected the character of Johnny and turned the latter into a very vulnerable person. War has also affected the personality of Johnny in the sense that he has become extremely paranoiac. This can first be seen when Mary and Mrs. Boyle are discussing about a murder and the latter interrupts them; “Oh, quit that readin’, for God’s sake! Are yous losin’ all your feelin’s? It’ll be soon be that none of you’ll read anythin’ that’s not about butcherin’ !”. What makes this even more strange and sympathetic is that this matter is trivialized; “Mary: He’s getting’ very sensitive, all of a sudden!”. Johnny‟s paranoia is such that a simple knock on the door makes “his face anxious” and his “voice is tremulous”. Not only does Johnny become physically handicapped following war, but he has also lost his mental balance. The first hint is given in the opening of Act one itself; “Voice of Johnny: Bring us in a dhrink o’ wather.” If looked at closely, it can be seen that Johnny mentions „us‟ when he is all on his own in the room. The idea that Johnny hallucinates is further enforced some moments later when the latter is first seen on stage; “Johnny: I was lyin’ down; I thought yous were gone. Oul’ Simon Mackay is thrampin’ about like a horse over me head, an’ I can’t sleep with him…”. The fact that Johnny has undergone such a lacerating experience has awakened a cantankerous aspect to his personality. This can be seen through diverse examples such as; “Tay, tay, tay! You‟re always thinkin‟ o‟ tay‟.” . All of Johnny‟s dialogues and movement point out to the fact that he has somewhat cut off from the others both physically, as seen when he is in a different room to that of Mary and Mrs. Boyle, but also mentally, as he refuses to ask his dad anything, under the pretext that “He hates to be assed to stir…”. It can therefore be said that he is slowly becoming introvert and antisocial. Another facette to Johnny‟s personality is the passion he has for Ireland, his home country. He has turned out to become a die-hard, someone ready to lay down his life for the country. He himself is seen to say “I‟d do it agen, ma, I‟d do it agen; for a principle‟s a principle.”, when his mother is talking to Bentham about the war which Johnny was involved in. It can be seen that Johnny is someone who has faith in not only his country but also in religion. He is the type of person who needs to cling on a belief to go through hard times. To conclude this essay, it can be said that Johnny‟s personality is rather complex. Throughout the essay, some of the major characters of Johnny which were seen and analysed were his weak and vulnerable personality, his paranoia, his mental disbalance, leading to many hallucinations and finally his faith in religion and country.

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By Vivek Bheeroo

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