'Humour in a Sad World'
Álvaro Luis Gómez Navas
In this short essay I would like to expound how comedy and humour could be used to criticize both the modern society and the Irish one throughout literary works. The period, in which Beckett and O’Brien wrote their plays, the mid twentieth century marked an era of desperation and post-apocalyptic desire of endeavouring the horror of the sequelsof the II World War. It illuminates the relationship between humour and drama across this post-war culture. According to these terms, Beckett as well as O’Brien attempt to demonstrate to the audience of the twentieth century that the theme of criticism might be analysed from different points of view. 'Although Beckett's works are darkly comic, his characters often grotesque, and his themesevocative of the absurdity and meaninglessness of human existence, he is not generally considered a nihilistic writer. Instead, he is widely recognized as having a keen sense of the condition of modern life, especially the impotence and ignorance of a world that has purportedly reached an advanced stage of technological and intellectual sophistication.'
Yet O’Brien actually approaches The Poor Mouth'as a parody of Irish literature such as Tomás O’Criomhthainn, whose work dwelt very much on the hardship of Gaelic life. In addition it was intended as a swipe at the patronising attitude of “Irish Irelanders” towards rural Gaelic speakers –as evidenced in one glorious scene where Gaelic enthusiasts mistake the grunting of a pig for melodious Irish simply because they cannot understand it'In addition, we may also observe the absurdity of some conversations throughout Beckett's Waiting for Godot. As an illustration, it is rather appreciable the way the Irish author apparently misinterprets the characters' dialogue along the play; by using this absurdity, the author looks calling the audience's attention, but also suggests something else.
As a result, this short essay would basicallytry to portrait, on the one hand, how reprehensible the modern society's attitude towards the world should have been, on the other hand, how hard the Irish life could be as exemplified in the following quotation:
‘He possessed the very best poverty, hunger and distress also. He was generous and open-handed and he never possessed the smallest object which he did not share with the neighbours;nevertheless, I can never remember him during my time possessing the least thing, even the quantity of little potatoes needful to keep body and soul joined together. '
Flann O’Brien's the Poor Mouth
As a result, we might consider in this quote that the Irish writer tries to suggest the audience the extreme poverty that the so-called imaginary village once faced. Instead, we the audience shallread in between the lines how desperately hard was surviving in that village, in which, the novel itself mentions a very heavy rain is taking place for months. Regarding this fore mentioned paragraph, it is worth stating that the satire in which O’Brien focuses on the Irish language itself. This is to explain that the Irish author was best known because of his love towards his mother tongue,Gaelic. 'At one point the area is visited by hordes of Dublin Gaeilgeoirí (Irish language lovers), who explain that not only should one always speak Irish, but also every sentence one utters should be about the language question. However, they eventually abandon the area because the poverty is too poor, the authenticity too authentic and the Gaelicism too Gaelic.'
Although, in this case, it isinteresting to focus on the ironic point of the fragment, which is the hyperbole used by exaggerating the poverty of the population rather than reducing the cruel affect it suggests. In the fore mentioned paragraph, the idea of dark humour reoccurs. The play deals with giving the audience a very contradictory clue straightforwardly connected with O'Brien's aggressive treatment of Irishness as a...
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