Tragicomedy of the tenement dwellers in Dublin of 1922, a world invaded by the cruelties of war. While "Captain" Jack Boyle struts about from pub to pub like a "paycock," his long-suffering wife Juno struggles to make ends meet in their meagre home. Their daughter Mary, having joined the workers' strike, is no longer providing money for food, and their son Johnny, armless and lame as a result of his part in the battle for independence, has become timid and afraid, especially when he hears of the violence in the street. It appears that the bullet-ridden body of Robbie Tancred, a young neighbour with whom Johnny vehemently denies any friendship, has been found. Although Juno and the Captain try to comfort Mrs. Tancred, they are not deeply affected by her tragedy. However, the news brought by Mary's new suitor, the lawyer Charlie Bentham, that they have inherited half the property of a rich relative, sets them to animated rejoicing. The Captain promises to change his ways, to stop drinking, at last to get a job, and to give up his drinking companion Joxer. Now the Boyles begin to accumulate on credit the garish trappings of prosperity. But the will, ineptly phrased by Bentham, proves litigious, Charlie secretly skips off to England, and creditors begin to appear to take possession of the Boyles's new things. Meanwhile, two months have passed with no word from Bentham, and Mary has discovered she is pregnant, a fact that her other suitor, Jerry Devine, cannot accept although he still loves her. As men arrive to take back the new furniture, Irish irregulars also arrive to take away Johnny, who they have discovered was the one who betrayed Bobbie Tancred. When police arrive to tell Juno that her son has been killed, she goes off with Mary to identify the body, now echoing Mrs. Tancred's lamentations and enduring the burden of her fate. The Captain is left with Joxer, both of them extremely drunk and maudlin. "Th' whole worl'," says the Captain, "'s in a terrible state o' chassis!"
Original title: Juno and the Paycock
Genre: Drama and Plays→ Irish
This work is a subwork of the following works :
Three Dublin Plays (2000) [Collection]
Author: Sean O'Casey