In Brian Friel’s play Translations, Hugh’s character embodies the language struggle that began in Ireland in the 19th century and continues to this day. He can be characterized as a “dynamic” character due to the fact that he changes in a significant way during the play. Through Hugh’s actions and tone of voice, the author uses a “dramatic” method to present the themes of the play.
In the beginning of the play, Hugh criticizes, labels and rejects the English language. Before starting the lesson, Hugh informs the class that he encountered Captain Lancey, an English soldier, earlier that day. He sarcastically tells the class that the soldier admitted that he did not speak Irish, Latin or Greek. The irony in Hugh’s observation implies that the supposedly “smart” British soldier could only speak one language as opposed to the poor Irish peasants who could speak three languages. Hugh regards English as a language without expression used only for commerce. He concludes his story by telling the class that the English language could never express them (the Irish).
Maire argues with Hugh that they should all learn to speak English. She repeats what the Liberator, Daniel O’Connor says about the old languages obst
By calling the Irish a spiritual people, Hugh is being sarcastic because obviously no one can survive on language and spirituality. Hugh continues sarcastically by telling the soldier, "Woodsworth. When Hugh characterizes "always" as a silly word, he demonstrates his willingness to change. A total change is seen in Hugh at the end of the play as he shows recognition of a new reality. We must make them our new home"(pg. This implies that the Irish are trapped in the old language and locked in a prison of tradition vs. He wraps up his short story with a toast to Jimmy, "My friend, confusion is not an ignoble condition" (pg. He also says that language creates a choice of memories and that the Irish people are the only ones who can remember their past . Everyone struggles with interpretation because translations can be interpreted into many individual truths.