Past Exam Questions (Reverse Chronological Order)
(i) “Many of the main characters experience conflicting loyalties and learn bitter lessons during the course of the play, Translations.”
Discuss this view, supporting your answer with suitable reference to at least two main characters in the play.
(ii) “Friel gives language a central role in Translations both as a theme and as a dramatic technique.”
Discuss this view of the novel, supporting your answer with suitable reference to the text.
Sample Exam Questions (By Category)
- 2014: “Many of the main characters experience conflicting loyalties and learn bitter lessons during the course of the play, Translations.”
- Owen’s character and attitudes change throughout the play.
- What is the importance of the character of Owen in the play?
- Friel writes out of a sense of a lost past. How is this achieved in the play?
- How does Friel illuminate the play’s central themes?
- “Friel gives language a central role in Translations both as a theme and as a dramatic technique.”
- Friel explores the links between language and identity in Translations.
- Discuss the importance of language in the play.
- Translations laments the destruction of an authentic Gaelic culture. Discuss.
- Brian Friel has said that Translations “has to do with language and only language.” Discuss the themes of language and communication in the play.
- Translations is a play about language, not history. Do you agree?
- “Translations is, of course, a play about ‘the meeting of two cultures and specifically of two languages’, as Friel told the Derry People… However Translations is also about a collision between the values of a local community and a centralised state.” (Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama, ed. John Harrington, Norton Critical Editions, p.549.) Do you agree with this statement?
- “Brian Friel skilfully reveals the far-reaching personal and cultural effects of an action which is at first sight purely administrative.”