2006-07 Staatsexamensklausur Engl. Lit. Wiss. Anton Kirchhofer

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Staatsexamensklausur LA Gym – LA GHR – LA BBS 08.03.2007

(zugleich Magisterklausur)

The following passage is meant to give you an insight into the character and development of Christy Mahon, the protagonist of J. M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World. At the same time, it offers you glimpses of life in rural Ireland as Christy experiences or envisages it.

Analyse the passage closely, especially with respect to its representation both of Christy and of rural Ireland. Relate your observations on these points to the context of the entire play, and discuss the character and the play in the context of an evolving tradition in staging Irish identity.

[SCENE, as before. Brilliant morning light. Christy, looking bright and cheerful, is cleaning a girl's boots.]
CHRISTY -- to himself, counting jugs on dresser. -- Half a hundred beyond. Ten there. A score that's above. Eighty jugs. Six cups and a broken one. Two plates. A power of glasses. Bottles, a school-master'd be hard set to count, and enough in them, I'm thinking, to drunken all the wealth and wisdom of the County Clare. (He puts down the boot carefully.) There's her boots now, nice and decent for her evening use, and isn't it grand brushes she has? (He puts them down and goes by degrees to the looking-glass.) Well, this'd be a fine place to be my whole life talking out with swearing Christians, in place of my old dogs and cat, and I stalking around, smoking my pipe and drinking my fill, and never a day's work but drawing a cork an odd time, or wiping a glass, or rinsing out a shiny tumbler for a decent man. (He takes the looking-glass from the wall and puts it on the back of a chair; then sits down in front of it and begins washing his face.) Didn't I know rightly I was handsome, though it was the divil's own mirror we had beyond, would twist a squint across an angel's brow; and I'll be growing fine from this day, the way I'll have a soft lovely skin on me and won't be the like of the clumsy young fellows do be ploughing all times in the earth and dung. (He starts.) Is she coming again? (He looks out.) Stranger girls. God help me, where'll I hide myself away and my long neck naked to the world? (He looks out.) I'd best go to the room maybe till I'm dressed again.
[He gathers up his coat and the looking-glass, and runs into the inner room. The door is pushed open, and Susan Brady looks in, and knocks on door.]
[Vocabulary, line 5: A score – twenty ; A power – a great number]