Set in the grim slums of Dublin during the Irish civil war of –23, the play chronicles the Juno and the Paycock, tragicomedy in three acts by Sean O’ Casey. The most famous play by this remarkable Irish dramatist. Juno and the Paycock has been produced throughout the world and offers a compelling look at the. Setting. The living apartment of a two-room Tenancy of the Boyle Family, in a tenement house in Dublin. Period of the play,

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We are introduced to the character of Jack Boyle before we meet him via his wife, Juno, at the opening of Act I. Despite it being breakfast time Boyle has not yet returned from a night of drinking with his friend Joxer. Therefore, our first impression of him is that he appears untrustworthy and cannot be relied upon by his family or his friends.

In the first act Joxer is his best friend. This is juxtaposed with the following scene which opens with Boyle inviting Joxer into his home again. He is fickle and nothing he says can be trusted.

Right up to the end of the play – when he cruelly dismisses his own daughter for falling pregnant before she is married – he continues to be unreliable and untrustworthy to all who know him. This aspect of his personality is reinforced as the play progresses. For example, when he finds out that his only daughter is pregnant he thinks solely of the effect Mary’s pregnancy will have on him and th imagined reputation.


His self-involved nature means he is a bad father, husband and friend. He refuses to put his family first and is even disloyal to Joxer when he thinks he is receiving money.

A very unpleasant example of how Captain Boyle cares for no one but himself is seen after Mrs Tancred delivers her devastating speech about the death of her son. Right from the opening scene, Captain Jack Boyle is portrayed as work-shy and idle.


Despite this we see him ordering his hard-working wife around as if she were his inferior. At the end of the play the women leave to take on the responsibility of Mary’s child by themselves.

As an unmarried mother, Mary’s situation would have attracted pllay stigma at the time. They do this because it is clear that Jack is never going to change and will be of no use teh them as he neither brings in income nor helps around the house.

Even the language used in his physical description depicts him as a showy man – his face is “puffed out”, his stomach “thrust forward” and his walk is a “slow, consequential strut”. The use of the word “strut” suggests a pompous style. The title “Captain” – which he seems to have given himself – is the product of self-importance. The image that Jack presents to the world seems very different from the reality, but he is given to self-delusion. When he believes himself to be a man of means we see him take on airs of grandeur.


Juno and the Paycock – Wikipedia

Act II opens with the stage directions stating that “the furniture is more plentiful, and of a vulgar nature”. He has filled “every available spot” with fake flowers and is smoking a pipe on the sofa. He becomes a caricature of what he thinks a monied gentleman is like. The irony of course is that he has never had any of this money and never will. When Juno asks him to go and show Johnny that everything is okay, the stage directions state that Boyle is “making no move”. Again we see Boyle thinking more of himself than his apycock children in their time of need.

Juno and the Paycock

The play ends with Boyle and Joxer returning to the stage drunk again, with Boyle not even knowing that his son is dead. He has taken the easy way out and retreated into a world of alcohol-induced fantasy rather than being brave enough to face his problems. Idle Right from the opening scene, Llay Jack Boyle is portrayed as work-shy and idle.

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