Author(s): İmren YELMİŞ

The Irish struggled for centuries to gain their sovereignty from the English; however, after the independence that was obtained in 1948, the following problems were experienced: socio-economic problems, dislocation, fragmentation, and, as a consequence of all, problems of emigration and being exposed to being in (self-)exile. All these problems are projected in Martin Mconagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane (1996) by means of the symbolic representation of mother Ireland through the old mother, Mag, who suffocates her daughter, Maureen, who tries to find a way of being freed from the suffocation of the country. In this way, McDonagh criticises the postcolonial condition of Ireland by means of debunking the mother myth of Ireland. Taking into consideration the high value of the symbols reflected in The Beauty Queen, the play might be regarded as the symbolic representation of Ireland as a country that has not yet been freed from the burdens of its colonial past. Within the light of these discussions and as opposed to the general criticism on McDonagh’s plays that they do not reflect Irish realities and are nothing more than imaginary stories, this paper aims to discuss McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane as a play that represents the above-mentioned conditions and problems experienced in postcolonial Ireland particularly in the 1990s.


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