Exploring the influence of Shakespeare on drama in Ireland, the author examines works by two representative playwrights: Sean O'Casey (1880-1964) and Brian Friel (1929-). Shakespeare's plays, grounded in history, nationalism, and imperialism, are resurrected, rewritten, and reinscribed in twentieth-century Irish drama, while Irish plays, in turn, historicize the Subject/Object relationship of England and Ireland. In particular, the author argues, Irish dramatists' appropriations of Shakespeare were both a reaction to the language of domination and a means to support their revision of the Irish as Subject. This study reveals that Shakespeare's plays embody an empathy for the Irish Other. As she investigates Shakespeare's commiseration with marginalized peoples and the anticolonial underpinnings in his texts, the author situates Shakespeare between the English discourse that claims him and the Irish discourse that assimilates him.
Contents: Introduction; 'What ish my nation?': the blurring of national identity in Shakespeare's Henry V, Richard II, and Spenser's A View of the Present State of Ireland; 'Past and to come seems best: things present worse': appropriations of Shakespeare's Henriad in modern Irish drama; 'Something is being eroded': peripheral visions in contemporary Irish drama; Conclusion; Further reading; Bibliography; Index.