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W. B. Yeats’s “Fiery Mask” and Passive Self: “September 1913,” “Easter 1916,” and “Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop”

Kim Hae Yeon


W. B. Yeats in his whole life suffers from his introvert or passive self thathesitates to take action. In his agony, he creates his anti-self that boldly expresseshis instinctive rage, and the anti-self is concretely established as a “fiery mask” inhis poems. However, not oppressing the introvert and passive self completely, thefiery mask frequently conflicts and clashes with the passive self. Therefore, thispaper explores how the fiery mask conflicts with the passive self in his “September1913” and “Easter 1916,” and how in “Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop,” thefiery mask overcomes such a discord represented in the two previous poems.
In the first poem, the poet is indignant at political Irish nationalists who areunable to appreciate the true valuable arts. Attacking the political nationaliststhrough the fiery mask, however the poet reveals his hidden self that hangs backfrom taking action. In the second poem, such hidden self under the fiery maskbecomes undisguised, and the conflict between the fiery mask and the passive selfis exacerbated and maximized. Such conflict is dissolved through a female mask,crazy Jane in the third poem. Usually, mad woman’s angry voice makes a strongimpact on society even though she does not take a proper act from asocialresponsibility of her rage such as revenge. Therefore, the fiery mask of crazy Janemakes the poet escape from his duty to take action resulting in the solution of theconflict between the fiery mask and the passive self. Ironically, Yeats’s idealanti-self is completed in the mad female mask, crazy Jane, not in the courageousmale mask.

W. B 예이츠의 “분노의 마스크”와 소극적 자아: 「1913년 9월」, 「1916년 부활절」, 「미친 제인 주교와 이야기하다」



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    The Yeats Society of Korea

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