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The Lonesome West Essay

The * For my comparative study I focused on the importance of decision making within texts. The text that I am going to focus on is the play The Lonesome West by Martin McDonagh. This play was first staged in 1997 and is part of a trilogy which focuses on the lives of the people of Leenane a ficitonal rural village in Galway. The play focuses on the lives of two bacholar brother’s Valene and Coleman who are both bitter and grumpy about their lives have ended up. Leenane is a hell on earth a place that drives its inhabitants to their limits. * The play mixes humour and sadness in a touching and memorable fashion which is one of the main reasons that the play appealed to me. Although it only has four characters Coleman, Valene, Fr.Welsh and Girleen each of these four characters make decisions which impacts on both those around them and also the way they live their lives. * Coleman we learn decides on an impulse to murder his father over a simple insult about his haircut.

“Didn’t Dad make a jibe about Coleman’s hairstyle and didn’t Coleman dash out, pull him back by the hair and blow the poor skulleen out of his head”. Coleman’s decision was quick and the act carried out without thought. This one quick decision lead to Valene blackmailing Coleman out of his part of the will. * Coleman suffers the consequences of this decision throughout the play as he is always asking Valene for money and eventually takes his revenge with another quick decision by blowing Valene’s stove to bits. * Valene also makes decisions which impact on the play as a whole, his decision to blackmail Coleman sours the brothers relationship as he demands for his silence that Coleman “sign over everything your dad went and left you in his will”.

While Coleman’s decision was quick and without thought Valene’s decisions are thought out and thus had even more effect on me the reader as it made me feel that Valene was unkind. * I think the most dramatic decision of the text and the one which has the most influence on the text as a whole was Fr.Welsh’s decision to kill himself by walking into the lake. Fr.Welsh decides that he has had enough of life and as a suicide note leaves a letter for the two brother’s asking them to change their ways. * Fr.Welsh’s decision sets off a chain of events from the letter scene in Scene Five to the end of the play. This one decision leads to Girleen descending into madness because of her decision to care and it also leads the brothers to take a step back and look at their behaviour even just for a few moments.

“Poor Girleen, And her mam two times has had to drag her screaming from the lake at night”. The brother’s game of sins is as a direct result of Fr.Welsh’s letter. * What is interesting about all these decisions is that they only have temporary effects and that they are linked together as they are negative and result in two deaths. This theme taught me a very valuable life lesson that all decisions have consequences. It also taught me that there are different types of decision and that when making a decision you need to think about all the circumstances because your one decision can set off a chain of events as has been shown in The Lonesome West.


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