Yeatsian nationalism: A progression of heroic paragons in W.B. Yeats's Irish Literary Theatre

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McClure, Molly Erin
Bennett, Tina

A surge of Irish nationalism in the late nineteenth century inspires W. B. Yeats to devote his life to contributing to the Irish Literary Renaissance. At the beginning of Yeats's playwriting career, he co-founds the National Irish Theatre and writes plays depicting common Irish people as heroic figures at odds with their uniquely Irish struggles. As the political atmosphere in the early twentieth century turns violent in Ireland, Yeats's plays begin reflecting his disapproval of violent nationalism. Yeats utilizes heroic archetypes in an attempt to transform the riotous Irish into what he considers to be the exemplary Irish being. Within these plays, he often utilizes Irish mythological figures to revitalize Ireland's knowledge of its distinctive myths and to instruct the enraged and resentful British colony. After Ireland declares itself a free state, civil conflict and opposition from Britain erupts with greater fervor. At this time, Yeats begins utilizing Christ as a failed heroic figure to demonstrate to the sectarian divisions throughout Ireland the hindrance of Christian divisions.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Engineering, Dept. of English