By the Bog of Cats

By the Bog of Cats Literary Elements





Setting and Context

The present, Ireland

Narrator and Point of View


Tone and Mood

Disturbing, haunting, dramatic.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist is Hester and the antagonist is Carthage

Major Conflict

The major conflict is between Hester, who wants to put her child and her relationship with her partner above everything else, and the people around her, who want to send her away from the only place she's ever known.


The play reaches its climax when Hester kills her daughter and herself.


The play begins with the main character talking with the Ghost Fancier, a ghost that takes care of those who recently died. He tells her he will come to collect her later, which foreshadows her imminent death.


Hester's account of all of her violent misdeeds are understatements.


Allusions to the supernatural, and oblique references to Greek myth and tragedy.


The image of the farm burning is an especially evocative one, as are the images of the ghosts and the final acts of violence.


Hester knows that she must leave the Bog of Cats or she will die, but she cannot do so, and insists on staying. She also kills her daughter when her daughter says she wants to stay with her forever, which is a paradoxical act.


A parallel is drawn between Hester and her mother, and between little Josie (Hester's daughter) and older Josie (Hester's mother). A parallel is drawn between Hester and Caroline, as two women who long for maternal guidance.


The Ghost Fancier is a personification of death itself.

Use of Dramatic Devices

Some soliloquies, some monologues, a tragic ending.