O’ Casey’s play was set in 1920 in the working class tenements of Dublin, during the Irish civil period, and shows just how important the role of the woman is in a family. Men were considered more superior than women. The men had to support their families as they were the main source of financial income. In working class families, women also had to work. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to pay the rent, or possibly not be able to feed their family. Women also had to look after the family and children, and had to do all of the housework.
Men seemed to have control over women, who couldn’t do anything to stop them. In ‘Juno and the Paycock’, Sean O’Casey paints a different picture. Although the men believe they are in control, it is really the women who are in the driver’s seat. O’Casey believes that the women in his play are stronger, more enduring and unselfish than the male characters. In this play Juno, the mother is the main female and is not only strong minded but is also a representation of very important women in history, the name Juno is related to the Goddess Juno.
The Roman Goddess Juno was connected with all aspects of the life of women, most particularly married life. Another trait in Juno is the power of persuasion. She uses her wise words to persuade others, for example, Juno and her family are going through very difficult times, but because Juno is so strong, she has the power to keep the family together even in the most difficult of times. Juno persuades Mary that she doesn’t need to have a father for her baby; instead the child will be lucky and have two mothers. Another example of how Juno uses her strong words is in Act 1, Scene 6 talking to Boyle.
She is asking him why he didn’t get up and answer the door, when he heard someone knocking. It isn’t that big of a deal, but the way Juno talks to Boyle is very bold and outspoken. It also shows that the male was able and sometimes told to open the door, rather than the house wife always answering it. Other then the fact that women are powerful characters in this play, O’ Casey, also portrays the women as more important features of their play. In ‘Juno and the Paycock’ O’Casey switches the roles of men and women.
The man, Mr. Boyle in the play is portrayed as childish and unhelpful, whereas the woman, Juno, is the strong character that keeps the family together. For example the fact that Juno says, “It’ll have what’s far betther — it’ll have two mothers”. This shows that the women don’t need a male in their life. That it’s far better to have two mothers rather than a mother and a father. Another example is that in this play Juno is the only one working. The father, Mr. Boyle, can’t keep a job and Juno has a steady job that somewhat supports the family.
Mary is the other strong willed woman in this play; she was on strike to stand up for the principles she believes in. But when Mary is pregnant, and when Boyle and Johnny find out there first reaction is to abandon her Although now a day’s women have almost every advantage as men do, in this play, the women portrayed were definitely anything but house wives. Juno was a strong, out spoken, in control woman throughout almost the whole play. Women have really come a long way from what the original views of their roles were.