Naru's Happy Travel
DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.14354/yjk.2000.13.147
예이츠의 시에 나타난 헬렌의 상징성 연구
충남대
A Study on the Helen’s Image of Yeats
,

Chungam National University
Abstract
Yeats presented the fallen majesty of Sophia who is a veiled goddess as in Valentinian of Christian Gnosticism, Cabalism and Rosicrucianism. In this respect, Yeats himself rejected the masculine Trinity and insisted on an androgynous Trinity throughout his works. Yeats’s view of Sophia is that of Attis for goddess Cybele. Yeats sought to reveal that Daughter-Sophia was a fallen Deity such as Helen of Troy or Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty of the fairy tale. Therefore one of Yeats’s major poetic themes is the longing for Sophia.
From his early poems, Helen is symbolized as Sophia’s secular image and as one of the Yeats’s personal poetic heroines. Yeats wanted Helen, the cause of Troy’s fall, compared to Sophia who was the cause of the Christian’s fall for early Christian Gnostics. Also, several of Yeats’s poetic heroins can be approached in terms of Sophia’s secular and mournful beauty who is suffering with mankind in this world. Especially, Yeats as a master myth-maker himself recreated Helen as his personal unique mythic character in Sophia’s image. For Yeats, Maud Gonne’s poetic role was the embodiment of Ireland as Rose, Helen, Cathleen, Deirdre, Niamh and Jane. These figures are all symbolized as a divine Feminine Principle existing within the God, Masculine Principle before the all creation. And Yeats lays himself and the world at her feet as the love poet or her sole priest just as did Attis for Cybele. Yeats’s personal and poetic heros as symbols of Yeats’s portraits: Attis, Homer, Jester, Oisin, Red Hanrahan, Fergus, Cuchulain, and Aleel.
Through Sophia’s imagery, Yeats suggested gnostic speculations about the female elements of divinity, rigorously suppressed by the orthodox Christian fathers of the early church, and this rejection remains to this day. In other words, Yeats tried to carry out a poetic recovery of one single body work of art from the veiled goddess, Sophia. Because Yeats wanted to become Sophia’s sole priest, Valentinian. His hope appears in his poetic theme of a ‘Unity of Being’ by uniting with Sophia after his own death and Sophia’s death too. In this sense, Yeats often illustrated in his poems sorrowful love and an eagerness for the death of the beloved. This idea and sentiment is seen in Aleel’s attempted unity with Cathleen: Aleel suggests Countess Cathleen who is suffering with her people go to Heaven to escape her pains.
Although people mocked Yeats’s attitude regarding Sophia, he envisioned a heroic dream in which Sophia will be revealed with her Heavenly power in a future as her era comes. And at last, she will recover her genuine glory in Heaven. Sophia’s era will come 2000 years after Christ’s birth according to Yeats’s unique historical view. For example, “Leda and the Swan” and “A Nativity” symbolize the coming of the masculine Trinity era with in the Orthodox Church. So Yeats stated when the Christ or Helen or Christ’s sister (Daughter-Sophia) was born, the Mother of God, Mary or Leda was frightened and terror-struck. Therefore Helen symbolized secular beauty suffering with mankind during the 2000 years of the masculine Trinity age.
On the other hand, in “The Second Coming,” Yeats suggested that Sophia’s veil be removed when she recovers her glory. The terrible Sphinx stands for this coming of Sophia, which will establish an androgynous Trinity just as seen in the Egyptian Trinity: Osiris, Isis and Horus. Sophia as Yeats’s beloved is also symbolized by the Sphinx, ‘half lion, half child’ in “Against Unworthy Praise.”
Thus we see Yeats endeavoring to draw the readers’ attention to the stress laid by feminine principle, Helen-Sophia who is with mankind as Countess Cathleen -with sacrificial love and her suffering under the masculine Trinity- until the new age comes, which was stated as ‘until coming sphinx’ or ‘until God burn time.’ So Yeats was an authentic prophet in our time.

 



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