Socialism and The Covey

It is assumed that because O’Casey was an avowed Socialist and as he admitted, Communist, long before he ever heard of Lenin, the doctrine of Socialism who he favourably presented in The Plough and The Stars. The title of the play represents the flag of socialism but its theme investigates how this ideology was subsumed into the Nationalist and Republican Movement between 1913 and 1916. Socialist views in the flag are presented largely through the mouth-piece of The Covey but ironically he is one of the least attractive characters in the play and the socialism that he preaches is not focused at the level of society around him or in a language or terms which could be understood by the tenement folk. The Covey’s bible is "Jenersky’s Thesis" which is presented in the play as an academic work far removed from the realities of tenement life. At no point in the action do we see The Covey comprehending the real needs and preoccupation’s of the tenement dwellers. O’Casey is critical of the brand of Socialism represented by The Covey, his point is that revolution encompassing social and political change must originate within the concerns of the ordinary working class people and that a creed of socialism imposed from outside and presented in a language alien to the people does no more to improve the situation of the tenement dwellers than the rhetoric of the speaker or the vanity of Jack and Brennan. An important comment by O’Casey on Socialism as he then perceived it to be represented (missing about 3 lines here)

Home : Jack Clitheroe : Nora Clitheroe : Language in The Plough & The Stars