Silver Tassie, The
The Silver Tassie
Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Seven Against Thebes (Hepta epi Thēbas; Septem contra Thebas) to Sir Walter Scott and Scotland
a play by Sean O'Casey, published in 1920 and performed in 1929. This principally involves Harry Heagan, a Dublin footballer whose skill wins his club the ‘silver tassie’, or cup, three years running. But he is seriously wounded in the Great War, losing both the use of the lower half of his body and his fiancée, Jessie. He ends up in a wheelchair at the football club dance. At first, he bitterly confronts Jessie and her new lover, Barney, who earned the VC rescuing him under fire; but then he discovers resignation and a deeper heroism—‘what's in front we'll face like men’. Though most of the play is naturalistically written, and some of it marked by O'Casey's characteristically humorous observation of Irish eccentricity and fecklessness, the second act attempts to evoke the war's horror and suffering in a heightened, liturgical style. It was mainly because of this that The Silver Tassie was rejected for performance by Dublin's Abbey Theatre, thus accelerating O'Casey's alienation from his native country. It was, however, much admired by G. B. Shaw, who described it as ‘a new drama rising from unplumbed depths to sweep the nice little bourgeois efforts of myself and my contemporaries into the dustbin’.