Ireland may not be a place that you automatically associate with the idea of colonization, but it has a history built on colonization.

Here is a brief overview of the history of Ireland:

We will be watching a production of Brian Friel’s Translations.

Watch the play as staged at the National Theatre in 2018



What do you make of these two very different plays in terms of the ideas they present about colonization and decolonization? In what ways are they about clashing cultures?

4 thoughts on “Ireland

  1. In terms of the plays, it appears to me that Nigeria experienced colonization as something catastrophic, whereas Irish citizens had varying levels of worry about it. The colonizers in “Death and the King’s Horseman” cause catastrophe to strike the town, and while the English also threaten (and really only threaten) destruction in Translations, there is a lot more retaliation from the characters, like continuing to speak in their own language and moving English settlement flags.

  2. With the aspect of decolonization and colonization we see two different viewpoints within these plays as well as the videos.In the play “ Death and the king’s Horseman” we see the country of nigeria in peace and harmony all united as one dancing with one another in joy but once colonizations struck the nation had a 360 turn around as now this very nation was at unease and uncertainty of what will happen to not only their nation but their friends and family we see that the british and their viewpoints want the very common susicde ritual to not take place as we see their cultural differences. From the viewing of the country of Ireland and the aspect of colonization in the play “Translation: we see that many had issues of identity specifically in cultural and the most important thing we learn from this play is that the people within it wants a sense of language and how it should be from colonization.

  3. Although the two plays consist of two entirely different plots, they both share the commonality of the British colonizing and interfering within their land and culture. In terms of colonization and decolonization, it seems as if there is struggle the British between both cultures in both plays to uphold their cultures as the British try to overthrow those customs. In Death and the Kings Horseman, after the emperor dies its tradition for the horseman to go along with him in the afterlife in order to maintain balance in the world. Although the horsemans execution was interrupted by British soldiers arresting him for attempting to partake in the ritual. In Translations, the Irish people continue to speak their native language even under the threat of British colonization and even kidnap one of their soldiers in retaliation.

  4. I think that was an important distinction to make, the unfair usage of “clashing cultures” when really the first play depicts the unfair advantage of christian missionaries asserting themselves on traditional African customs. In Death and the King’s Horseman, Soyinka focused on how Colonization not only disrupts native life politically and economically, but the effects of colonization culturally as well. Soyinka is able to also bring up the divide between native Nigerians that wish to continue their traditions clash with characters that become assimilated into the white washed culture of the colonizers. The themes explored in Soyinka’s play are similarly reflected in Friel’s Translations, as Friel emphasizes the point that Irish language and culture are intertwined.
    Both plays rebel against colonization and the outside cultural influences, such as standardizing English as the spoken language, and have a growing resentment for British rule as they make no effort to understand the culture or heritage of the people they are subjugating. Both plays show the native cultures asserting their identities in the face of colonialism, refusing to allow outside interference despite its inevitability. Cultural struggle, identity, and heritage are at stake in both plays, and while they are met with misunderstanding from the one’s who colonize them, it’s the refusal to offer up their customs that is a defiant light in the darkness of a time when both Nigeria and Ireland were suffering a political and economic shift at the hands of British colonization.

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