Brian Friel: The Freedom of the City

(2962 words)

The specific events which occasioned Brian Friel’s play The Freedom of the City were the killings on Bloody Sunday (30 January 1972) of thirteen unarmed civilians in Derry/ Londonderry by British soldiers during an anti-internment march, and the publication less than three months later of Lord Widgery’s Report (see note 1) which exonerated the military, compounding the anger and outrage felt in Northern Ireland’s nationalist community. Yet the play is best understood not just in the context of contemporaneous political violence, which by the time of the play’s première on 20 February 1973 had already cost over 730 lives in the province, but by placing it within a broader historical narrative.

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Parker, Michael. "The Freedom of the City". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 March 2010
[, accessed 07 July 2015.]