Cathleen Ni Houlihan represents Ireland and she goes to a home where there is about to be a marriage and convinces the future groom, Michael, to give up the wedding and go fight. Death is common during the time around the rising, but becoming a martyr is somethings that is admirable, so oftentimes people welcomed death so they could create themselves a heroic memory. The martyrs would be remembered forever, which is why this theme is so ingrained into this play. It would be possible to convince men to go out to fight for their country. This play is about Irish Independence, but there are themes of martyrdom in other works, like the musical about American Independence, Hamilton and This is such a simple play that contains many symbols and has the goal of convincing men to fight for Ireland.
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Shelves: theatre , classics You can see my review over at The Literary Sisters as well. Written in and performed in April of the same year in Dublin, it is a play of great symbolic and historic significance for Ireland and the turbulent period it refers to.
While having this conversation, sounds of war and battle reach their ears, but they pay no particular attention to them, with the exception of a brief comment. All of a sudden, an old and rather mysterious woman appears at their door asking for help. The old woman proves to be none other than Cathleen Ni Houlihan, a mythological figure in Irish folklore who is said to represent Ireland herself.
Yeats is well known for his fascination by folklore and mythology and his deeply rooted nationalism as well. Therefore, it is no surprise that he chose to write a play about such an important figure of the Irish tradition. Cathleen Ni Houlihan has appeared in quite a few literary works and pieces of art as a symbol for Ireland and she is always depicted as a woman trying to recruit men who are willing to fight for her liberty. Many have said that this play is political and propagandistic, but Yeats himself has denied any such intentions while writing and producing it.
Yeats co-wrote this play with Lady Gregory. In a letter he wrote to her in he wrote of the play: "One night I had a dream almost as distinct as a vision, of a cottage where there was well-being and firelight and talk of marriage, and into the midst of that cottage there came an old woman in a long cloak.
She was Ireland herself, that Cathleen ni Houlihan for whom so many songs have been sung and about whom so many stories have been told and for whose sake so many have gone to their death. I thought if I could write this out as a little play I could make others see my dream as I had seen it, but I could not get down out of that high window of dramatic verse, and in spite of all you had done for me I had not the country speech.
One has to live among the people, like you I think it depicts quite accurately what the lives of the people belonging to the lower classes were like in the Irish villages at the time of the rebellion. It tackles important themes, such as duty, family, finance and, of course, nationalistic pride, an element which permeats this play.
Yeats believed in the purity of the Irish people, in the image of the honest and intellectual peasant, who cared more about abstract things like duty towards the country rather than about material things like money. It is undoubtedly an enjoyable play that evokes some thoughts while reading it and makes you think about what is morally right or wrong.
I believe it is a play of great importance for the Irish literary culture, since it contains so many elements and information about it. I would like to also watch it one day, so as to get a full picture of it.
Kathleen Ni Houlihan
Scene: Interior of a cottage close to Killala, in Bridget is standing at a table undoing a parcel. Peter is sitting at one side of the fire, Patrick at the other. What is that sound I hear?
Cathleen ni Houlihan Summary
Shelves: theatre , classics You can see my review over at The Literary Sisters as well. Written in and performed in April of the same year in Dublin, it is a play of great symbolic and historic significance for Ireland and the turbulent period it refers to. While having this conversation, sounds of war and battle reach their ears, but they pay no particular attention to them, with the exception of a brief comment. All of a sudden, an old and rather mysterious woman appears at their door asking for help. The old woman proves to be none other than Cathleen Ni Houlihan, a mythological figure in Irish folklore who is said to represent Ireland herself. Yeats is well known for his fascination by folklore and mythology and his deeply rooted nationalism as well.
“Cathleen Ni Houlihan”
Michael, one of the Gillane sons, is set to marry Delia Cahel the very next day. When the young man notices a mysterious Old Woman is approaching their family home, they invite her in, but not before clumsily hiding the bag filled with treasure. At first, Michael is distrustful and remains close to the door, while his parents welcome the feeble stranger with open arms. She speaks in an elevated and unearthly way, which contrasts with the traditional down-to-earth peasant dialect of the Gillane family. She recounts her tale of being evicted from her home, and how far she has travelled.
Cathleen ni Houlihan
Frequently it is hinted that this is because she has been dispossessed of her home which comprised a farmhouse and "four green fields" symbolising the four provinces of Ireland. She ultimately lures the young groom away to join in the failed Irish Rebellion of against the British during the French Revolutionary Wars. After the groom makes his decision and leaves, one character notes that the old woman has become a beautiful young woman with the walk of a queen. Sacrificial aspects of the myth[ edit ] Richard Kearney , p.