Allusion

O’Casey was a very well-read man, despite being self-educated.

We can see this in his numerous literary allusions in the play.

Like the symbolism used in the play, the allusions to other stories and writers are not just arbitrary. They tend to be very deliberate choices made by the writer to reinforce aspects of themes and/or characters.

The title itself refers ironically to Aesop’s fable about a discontented peacock and Juno, the queen of the Roman Gods.

The moral of the fable is that we should be more contented with our lot and cannot be the best at everything.

This is perhaps a comment on Boyle’s pompous self-importance while actually being useless to his wife and children.

We also see allusion to Henrik Ibsen in Mary’s reading habits. As well as suggesting that Mary is trying to educate herself by reading a variety of literature, the titles that Boyle mentions such as The Doll’s House and Ghosts are plays that deal with social issues like class and the treatment of women.

These themes feature heavily in Juno and the Paycock.