? In the play, “The Cripple of Inishman” by Martin McDonagh the characters display forms of cruelty and violence. The characters are unable to express themselves in any other way except brutality, which could be due to their education. Living in Ireland has played a part in their way of life, and has shaped them to have a hard exterior. They take each other’s insults on a daily basis and to them it seems normal. The two characters that mainly show this behavior are Helen and Johnnypateenmike. Helen was an attractive young woman that is awfully violent and a troublemaker.
She kills pets for cash and beats on Cripple Billy. Johnnypateenmike is a man in his mid-sixties that trades peoples’ tragedies as news and is trying to murder his mother with alcohol. Both characters, along with the others, treat Bill with utter insensitivity, but as the play progresses the reasons for this behavior becomes clearer. Helen is first introduced in the play, shouting at Bartley saying, “Are you fecking coming, you, fecker?! ” She is a vulgar and boisterous young girl, so she can protect her vulnerability. Deep down I think she doesn’t want to be looked at as weak, so she puts up a front for everyone else.
Her actions and words strangely become justified by the end of the play. The experiences she has been through have shaped her to the girl she is now. She states why she has to be so violent, “I do have to be so violent, or if I’m not to be taken advantage of anyways I have to be so violent. ” I believe Helen has feelings for Billy, but she cannot show them because she either doesn’t know how to or she does not want to look susceptible. Billy tells her that she was the only person he missed when he went to America, and she replies by laughing at him.
Helen is so nasty to everyone, but after a while it appears to be necessary. Helen might act this way because when she was little she could have been neglected or taken advantage of. Johnnypateenmike is an old man that is an instigator that bribes people for news on others misfortunes or secrets. He relays all his information to everyone in the town and doesn’t care who it effects. He displays this attitude by stating, “Do what you want and feck everybody else is Johnnypateenmichael’s motto. ” He is hated by most and annoys everyone he talks to.
Growing up Johnnypateenmike could have been denied attention because he craves attention from others when he gives them “news”. Johnnypateenmike might be trying to forget things that happened in his life by worrying about others. His emotional wounds from his past could be caused by his mother, since he is trying to kill her with liqueur and take all of her money. Johnnypateenmike states to his mother, “Drink up, so. You may save yourself the trouble this time. Isn’t that funny, because I’d enjoy seeing you in your coffin the same as ya, if we can find a coffin big enough to squeeze your fat arse into.
” By the end of the play we realize that there is more to Johnnypateenmike, and that he has a soft loving side. Kate and Eileen inform us that Johnnypateenmike is actually the reason Cripple Billy is alive. Johnnypateenmike went out into the ocean to save Cripple Billy when his mother and father tried to dump him. Then we find out Johnnypateenmike took one hundred pounds from his mother to pay for Cripple Billy’s hospital bills. In Johnnypateenmike’s heart he truly loves Cripple Billy; however, he does not tell Cripple Billy that he did this for him.
I think Johnnypateenmike keeps this a secret because he doesn’t want to appear to be weak and loose his reputation as an interrogator of news. The characters in this play, “The Cripple of Inishmaan”, are not able to express themselves appropriately with words; however, by the end of the play their actions dominated their words. Since they are also uneducated they are incapable of expressing their feelings and instead they resort to violence. This was the way they were brought up and they are used to insulting each other. All the characters have only lived in Ireland and have not travelled, so they do not know how other countries act.
Throughout the play they are amazed that foreigners come to their country. They state, “Ireland mustn’t be such a bad place so if Americans want to come to Ireland. ” They appear to have a negative outlook on life, and they relay this negative energy to each other. Johnnypateenmike and Helen are perfect examples of this negative energy and violence. Helen picked on Cripple Billy throughout the whole play and at the end she shows her soft side by agreeing to go on a walk with Billy. Johnnypateenmike came off as an asshole that threatened others for news, but after learning about his heroic
deed, Johnnypateenmike’s character is sympathized. At the end of the play their cruelty and nastiness give us a greater understanding of their actions. Both characters have a second personality that they do not want to expose to the outside world. They live double lives, but only the audience is introduced to the hidden side. They put up fronts using violence to keep their reputations of being brutal or uncaring. Overall, their actions are misinterpreted by others and the personalities of one directly projects off the next.
Courtney from Study Moose
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