Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




“The Four Late Comedies of Sean O’Casey” investigates the varying types of comedy treatment in four of O’Casey’s late plays. These comedies, Purple Dust, Cock-a-doodle Dandy, The Bishop’s Bonfire, and The Drums of Father Ned, are examples of O’Casey’s later writing, which ranges from farce to symbolic fantasy.

Data for this study was gathered through the study of the above-mentioned plays, and the research of secondary sources, such as biographies on and critical texts about O’Casey and his works. The University of Tennessee Graduate Library was used as the resource center for this study.

The four comedies reveal many different dramatic techniques, such as melodrama, farce, fantasy, and symbolism. The structure of each play, with the exception of Purple Dust, leaves something to be desired as the action meanders in no set pattern. Youth triumphant over age is a common theme in each of the plays as O’Casey attempts to point out the repressiveness of tradition and orthodox religion. The use of symbolism ranges from very little in Purple Dust to very extensive in Father Ned, which is a symbolic allegory.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."