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ISSN : 1226-4946(Print)
ISSN : 2288-5412(Online)
The Yeats Journal of Korea Vol.20 pp.107-138

W. B. Yeats’s Baile and Aillinn: Making and Transforming of the Myth

Se-Soon Lee


Baile and Aillinn, based on a pagan myth of ancient Ireland, is a long narrativepoem which expresses Yeats’s private love story along with his deep interest in hisfatherland and its national literature. Naturally, Yeats enlarged the simple plot of thestory which tells about the two lovers’ death and their going to live in Aengus’sland among the dead. He also partly created his own private myth in order totransmit his many-folded intent. By clothing each mythical character with a role andsymbol appropriate for his purpose, he succeeded in making his poem overcome thelimitation of private utterance and making it a poem with both individuality anduniversality.
The death of Baile and Aillinn has a duplicate symbolic meaning. Firstly, theirdeath is an inevitable ritual process to get an eternal beatitude through the unionafter death and a sort of sublimation of a tragic love, in which we can glimpse atthe poet’s plaintive love for Gonne. Secondly, their death is a kind of ritual murdersymbolizing a Messianism of the Irish desiring for liberation from inveterate povertyand oppression over time.
In conclusion, Baile and Aillinn is an excellent piece showing Yeats’s seasonedpoetic technique of creating a poem with new meaning through mythologizing withgreat subtlety not only his own autobiographical elements but also the nationalfeelings of the Irish people.

W. B. 예이츠의 『발랴와 아일린』: 신화의 창조와 변용



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