In the Name of the Father (1993)

Brief Intro

“In the Name of the Father” (1993) is a gripping drama directed by Jim Sheridan, based on the true story of the Guildford Four. The film chronicles Gerry Conlon’s wrongful imprisonment for an IRA bombing and his fight for justice alongside his father, Giuseppe. It explores themes of injustice, family, and perseverance against adversity.

Literary Devices Used in In the Name of the Father

Here are ten literary devices with examples from the film:


Movie SceneDevice Example
Gerry’s confrontation with the policeGerry’s defiance is a “spark” igniting resistance.
Giuseppe’s death in prisonHis death represents the “collapse” of hope.


Movie SceneDevice Example
Early scenes showing Gerry’s rebellious natureHinting at his future conflict with authority.
Giuseppe’s frail healthSuggesting his eventual demise.


Movie SceneDevice Example
Gerry’s harmonicaRepresents his longing for freedom.
Prison cell door closingSymbolizes loss of personal freedom.


Movie SceneDevice Example
Innocent men in prisonThe irony of justice system’s failure.
Gerry becoming more righteous in prisonFinding moral clarity in a place of supposed immorality.


Movie SceneDevice Example
Gerry recalling his childhoodProvides context for his character.
Courtroom flashbacksIllustrate the injustice faced by the Guildford Four.


Movie SceneDevice Example
References to historical IRA activitiesConnects personal story to broader political context.
Allusions to religious sacrificeParallels between Giuseppe and saintly figures.


Movie SceneDevice Example
Police brutality scenesExaggerates to emphasize injustice.
Media portrayal of the accusedOverstated to critique sensationalism.


Movie SceneDevice Example
Gerry’s free-spirited life vs. prison lifeHighlights the stark change in his circumstances.
Giuseppe’s calm demeanor vs. Gerry’s aggressionContrasts their coping mechanisms.


Movie SceneDevice Example
Recurrent scenes of confinementEmphasizes the theme of imprisonment.
Use of light and darknessSymbolizes hope and despair.


Movie SceneDevice Example
Giuseppe’s plea in courtEvokes deep sympathy.
Gerry’s breakdown after his father’s deathIntense emotional appeal to the audience.

Character Analysis Through Literary Devices

Character Studies

Gerry Conlon
IronyGerry’s wrongful imprisonment ironically leads to his moral awakening.
JuxtapositionHis carefree lifestyle sharply contrasts with his prison experience, showcasing his growth.
Giuseppe Conlon
SymbolismRepresents paternal love and sacrifice. His death becomes a symbol of the ultimate injustice.
PathosHis character evokes deep emotional responses, highlighting the human cost of wrongful imprisonment.

Character Dynamics

The relationship between Gerry and Giuseppe is central to the narrative, driving the emotional and thematic depth of the film. Their bond evolves from estrangement to deep mutual respect, symbolizing the reconciliation of personal and political conflicts. Gerry’s initial resentment towards his father transforms into admiration and determination to clear his father’s name, demonstrating the power of familial love and loyalty.

Thematic Analysis


IronyThe wrongful imprisonment of innocent men highlights the failures of the justice system.
FlashbackProvides historical context to underscore the long-standing nature of such injustices.


MetaphorGerry’s resistance is depicted as a “spark” that ignites broader calls for justice.
MotifRecurring scenes of struggle and resilience emphasize the theme of perseverance.


PathosThe emotional bond between Gerry and Giuseppe strengthens the narrative.
SymbolismGiuseppe’s character symbolizes the unbreakable nature of familial love and support.

Cinematic Techniques That Enhance Literary Devices

Visual and Sound Techniques

Literary DeviceTechniqueExplanation
MetaphorLighting contrastsLight and shadow highlight the metaphor of hope versus despair.
IronySoundtrack choicesJuxtaposition of upbeat music with tragic scenes enhances the irony.
FlashbackCamera filtersSepia tones in flashbacks provide historical context.
PathosClose-up shotsIntense close-ups capture raw emotions, heightening pathos.

Key Scene Analysis

Scene Selection

1. Courtroom Verdict Scene

  • YouTube Link: Courtroom Verdict
  • Breakdown: The use of dramatic irony, pathos, and close-up shots underscores the emotional impact of the unjust verdict on the characters and audience.

2. Giuseppe’s Death

3. Final Exoneration Scene

  • YouTube Link: Final Exoneration
  • Breakdown: The culmination of the themes of justice and perseverance, with triumphant music and uplifting visuals signifying the victory of truth.


To wrap up this in-depth analysis, here’s a fun interactive quiz to test your understanding of the literary devices used in “In the Name of the Father.”

Interactive Quiz

1. Which device is used to highlight the irony of the justice system in the film?

2. What does Gerry’s harmonica symbolize?

  • A) Hope
  • B) Freedom
  • C) Justice

3. How is pathos most effectively used in the film?

  • A) Through Gerry’s rebellious actions
  • B) In Giuseppe’s plea and eventual death
  • C) In the courtroom scenes

4. What does the recurring motif of confinement represent?