Naru's Happy Travel
DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.14354/yjk.2000.13.101
아일랜드 상징으로서의 여성상:『캐스린 니 훌리한』과『디어드르』를 중심으로
공주대학교
Heroines as Symbols of Ireland: Cathleen Ni Houlihan and Deirdre
,

Kongju University
Abstract
In the early twentieth century, Ireland was still under the colonial rule and the struggle for independence was at its height. Besides the political struggle, there were cultural movements and the Irish Dramatic Movement was one of those movements. W. B. Yeats was perhaps the most important leader in the Movement and his ideal was to create a national drama of Ireland and to have the Irish people recover their identity.
Yeats wanted to create his own original dramatic form which was different from realistic dramas. In Yeats’s plays, imagery, symbols, style and plot are well organized and unified as an organic whole. Therefore, the characters usually have symbolic meanings.
In Cathleen Ni Houlihan(1902), Cathleen is a symbol of Ireland. The setting of the play is a cottage of Killala in 1798. A young person named Michael is marrying Delia Cahel, a beautiful young girl. And a poor old woman enters the cottage and says that her land has been taken from her and many people have died for love of her. This is Cathleen ni Houlihan, a personification of Ireland. At the end of the play the poor old woman is transformed into a beautiful young girl. The woman can be a symbol of the sovereignty of Ireland and Michael can be a symbol of a king of Ireland. The transformation is the result of the symbolical marriage of land and king.
Deirdre, the heroine of Deirdre(1907), is an important figure in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. In Yeats’s Deirdre, Deirdre comes back to Ireland from a long exile with her lover, Naoise with promises of King Conchubar’s forgiveness. However, the treachery of Conchubar is revealed and Naoise is killed. At last Deirdre commits suicide. In this play, Deirdre is an archetypal figure who symbolizes the exile and misfortune of Irish people under the colonial rule. Therefore, Deirdre can be considered as an apt symbol of Ireland. In the last scene, Deirdre does not lose her dignity and chooses her death.
In the early twentieth century, Irish people felt a great sympathy for the tragic experience and misfortune of Cathleen Ni Houlihan and Deirdre in Yeats’s plays and they would consider them the symbols of Ireland. With the dramatization of those heroines, Yeats helped to encourage Irish people to recover national consciousness.

 



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