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The Hostage

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  164 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
An essential text in the development of modern British drama
Paperback, 109 pages
Published 1959 by Eyre Methuen
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The bells of hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling
For you but not for he
Oh Death where is thy sting-a-ling-a-ling?
Or grave thy victory?
(Closing lines)
Sep 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of twentieth-century drama
Shelves: poetryanddrama
This is the first Behan I've read, but it fit in easily with my wider knowledge of Irish Drama (Yeats, Gregory, Synge, Friel, etc etc etc...). Of course it's madly depressing if you think about the issues at hand. The obvious depressing thing happens at the end rather than (as sometimes occurs in Irish Drama) an unexpected even worse thing happening. On a page-by-page basis, though, there is quite a bit of humor and repartee. I found it much more entertaining than some twentieth-century playwrig ...more
Sep 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: drama
This play actually has a stage direction in it which states, "What happens next isn't very clear." So take that whimsy for what you will. The Hostage is a strong voice piece, but outside the context of the time in which it was written, the political situation being hashed out doesn't resonate too strongly with me as a reader, and so I feel something is lost in the final impact of its negative message about war and enmity.

Set in an Irish brothel that serves as a one-night jail to a charming Briti
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This being the first Behan play I have read I have to admit that I really liked it. I have seen some other reviews where people have said that you need a good knowledge of Irish History to get this play but I don't think so-that being said I am Irish so maybe I am unqualified to comment on this. However I think the play is more satirising war rather than commenting on the English/Irish conflict. There is the juxtaposition of Leslie (the English Soldier) and the Belfast Boy. Both of whom are two ...more
Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Irish Lit compleatists
A good dramatic scenario that dissipates in the playwright's effort to be clever. Cleverness can kill a good story for the sake of a few gems, most of which Behan makes reliant on the audience's knowledge of Irish popular music (pre-1960) and IRA politics. Good comedy is oftentimes an absolute contemporary of its production, yes, but Behan seems incapable of making any stance on his chosen issues. The beliefs he is most certain of are that the English and the Irish both consider him, Brendan Beh ...more
Everett Darling
Dec 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
Was looking for Borstal boy, but could only find The Hostage. Filled with lyric and song, The Hostage is more like a musical than a drama, but its poignant and funny, and has that famed Irish wit and black humor backing it up. Id definitely read more Behan, should I be able to locate some. ...more
Paul Long
Nov 19, 2016 rated it liked it
I've heard a lot of about this, and I like Behan's writing. Still, I am not very good at reading plays.
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
some good moments...
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: irish
I can see where Joe Orton picked up some of his ideas from - in a line: Outcasts of the world unite
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Brendan Francis Behan (Irish: Breandán Ó Beacháin) (9 February 1923 – 20 March 1964) was an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in both Irish and English. He was also an Irish republican and a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army.

Behan was born in the inner city of Dublin on 9 February 1923 into an educated working class family. He lived in a house on Russell Stree
More about Brendan Behan...