The Beauty Queen of Leenane

Caught in a Snare Trap: The Modern Irish Experience in "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" and "Six Shooter" 12th Grade

The modern Irish experience can be thought of as a giant hole in which the Irish have had to figure out how to escape. Oftentimes, however, individuals don’t end up finding their way out. This can be linked to two of Martin McDonagh’s works The Beauty Queen of Leenane and “Six Shooter,” where main characters Maureen and Mr. Donnelley are unsatisfied with their current environment and want to liberate themselves. But, as evidenced by the modern Irish experience, the Irish can’t always leave their homeland because of family and social pressures, among other reasons. Therefore, in The Beauty Queen of Leenane and “Six Shooter,” despite how desperately they wanted to escape from their respective situations, McDonagh traps Maureen and Mr. Donnelly to demonstrate the prisonlike nature of the modern Irish experience.

In talking about Maureen and Mr. Donnelly’s respective desire to flee from their situations, McDonagh reveals the characters’ dissatisfaction with the present, reflecting the feelings of Irish commoners during The Troubles. In Beauty Queen of Leenane, Mag sits by the fireplace while Maureen paces the room fantasizing about her future plans with Pato. Maureen opens her monologue by asserting: “Boston. To Boston I’ll be...

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