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Poverty has a dehumanizing effect on the majority of characters. Boyle is respected when people think he will be inheriting money, then suffers the dispossession of all of his things as soon as the truth about the legacy becomes known. Boyle behaves differently as well, imagining himself to be an important and educated man when he thinks he will be wealthy, but escaping reality through alcohol when he learns he is not. O'Casey underscores this dehumanization through the use of animal references.