The primary point of this paper is to examine the Irish face as it is seen in these dramas, analyzing how it functions as a symbol of the identity of Irish manhood. On one level, the Irish face reflects the traditional stereotype of the Irish hero: pathetic, drunken, crazy. It incorporates everything that is detestable about being Irish. However, it is also a shield, representing a strength that is not initially apparent. The Irish face establishes a distance from the misery and emptiness of life, a distance that underscores both the isolation of the character and the inner strength that allows him to persevere. In this sense, the Irish face works as both face and mask--Ioyally representing the awful, the pathetic qualities of the character while obscuring something deeper, harder, more admirable underneath.


English Language and Literature