Even the stage directions in this particular section lead us to believe something suspicious is going on, Doalty begins whistling through his teeth. Suddenly the atmosphere is silent and alert. To be able to understand that this may be about the IRA, background reading about the times the play is set and when the play was written (the 1970s, a time of great trouble and political unrest in Northern Ireland.) is necessary.
The 1970s were a time when tension between Northern Ireland and England was at a peak. This also was around the time of the infamous “Bloody Sunday”. So it is possible that Friel may have tried to incur some of this in to the play. Although Seamus Deane says “Translations” is a “sequence of events in history which are transformed by his writing into a parable of events in the present day.” The play has also been described as an enlightening metaphor for the situation in Northern Ireland.
The many contexts featured in the play are extremely important as they add a framework or shell to the play allowing it to go in many directions. Although it features so many different contexts Friel is quoted to say that “Translations” is “to do with language and only language.”
Therefore not historical contexts. To become more familiar with the play and its many contexts background reading and the reading of other people’s interpretations are essential. By reading theses criticisms I have become more aware at how Friel has made the play so effective by setting it in the specific era.
By doing this it makes it easier for the audience to see how the recent condition of Ireland spiralled way out of control originating in the mid 1800s. It also gives greater depth to the tragedy that will eventually befall and that the audience know the tragedy is coming but not on so many levels. Overall it is essential to at least to some form of background reading in order to understand the play to a higher level.