Those involved in the Irish Literary Revival, in peculiar, Lady Gregory, WB Yeats and JM Synge, wished to make a new literary Ireland. They wished to alter how Irish people were perceived in authorship, particularly onstage. With Ireland holding a really poetic tradition, the Evangelists felt that this “ great minute ” had passed. They chose play as a agency to level the “ Paddy ” image. They were self-aware as a motion, cognizing that play had the power to alter things politically, or at least make people question the political relations in action around them. Yeats particularly was cognizant of this and wished to catch audiences “ by the cervix ” .
JM Synge was born in Dublin in 1871. He studied music in Germany before going to Paris to compose, where he was met by WB Yeats in 1899 who persuaded Synge that he must compose about his ain state. Synge travelled to the Aran Islands. There he studied the idioms of the islands, and took note of the characters and folklore at that place. He began to compose dramas of peasant life, using the natural address which he had learned. In the foreword to The Playboy of the Western World, Synge wrote, “ … in states where the imaginativeness of the people, and the linguistic communication they use, is rich and life, it is possible for a author to be rich and voluminous in his words, and at the same clip give the world, which is the root of all poesy, in a comprehensive and natural signifier. ”
The drama itself is a commentary of how society can both arise and conform to certain societal conventions. The small town condones Christy Mahon ‘s narrative of killing his male parent and the Widow Quinn even lies on his behalf when his male parent turns up at the saloon. The people of the small town respect Christy ‘s act as a rebellion against the older coevals – he is so considered a hero. However, when the small town realises that Old Mahon is non dead and Christy threatens to really kill him in, they are aghast and declare him barbaric. When the offense is committed in forepart of them, they are disgusted. They condemn Christy to hanging so, despite holding praised him in the first case. To a lesser extent, the thoughts of rebellion are portrayed in the drama in the manner Pegeen neglects Shawn Keogh ‘s obvious fear for the Church. Shawn is pious and does non wish to endanger his topographic point in the local priest ‘s regard. He will non remain with Pegeen Mike when her male parent leaves the saloon because they are non married and it is considered “ unhallowed ” for an single adult male and a adult female to be entirely in a house together after dark. Pegeen confronts every individual who enters the saloon. She is non afraid to voice her sentiment and she challenges what is expected of her as the girl of a well-liked tavern keeper.
It is in this manner that the drama represents the ideals of the literary resurgence. The resurgence was about rebellion, though possibly non with the same violent intensions that go with The Playboy. The evangelists wished to picture the West of Ireland in a peculiar visible radiation. Yeats ‘ vision of a new Ireland in the West was portion of a larger cultural resurgence which was taking topographic point throughout the state during this clip. The resurgence dedicated itself to Irish music, linguistic communication, myths and folklore, featuring events and literature. With British colonialism, Irish civilization had been really much threatened and the evangelists sought to get the better of this. The eternity of Yeats ‘ Eden and crude islands was the perfect scene in which to “ fend off the homogenising progresss of modernness ” ( McIntyre, 92 )
It is amidst this landscape that The Playboy is set, in the West of Ireland, among the peasant people, who are neither really educated or joint. The drama encapsulates the philosophy of the resurgence: it is modern in its authorship and presents a new Ireland. It caused contention and sparked farther involvement in the theater in general and deriving much more promotion for the Abbey Theatre.
As Colin Graham notes in his essay “ Ireland and the Persistence of Authenticity ” ( 1999 ) , Revivalist buildings of the state, the type that W.B. Yeats uses for his Cathleen Ni Houlihan, rely upon a impression of “ cultural pureness ” whereby claims to entree an reliable sense of “ Irishness ” underlie cultural patriotism: “ The state ‘s really ground for being, its logic of being, is its claim to an undeniable genuineness as a pure look of the “ existent ” , the obvious, the natural ” .
WB Yeats ‘ Cathleen Ni Houlihan besides manifests the ideals of the resurgence and in a much more obvious manner. The Old Woman is a building of Ireland. She is Ireland personified and embodies everything that Yeats values in being Irish – courage, patriotism and nationalism. In 1903 Yeats wrote to Lady Gregory in a dedication of a volume of his dramas to her:
One dark I had a dream about every bit distinguishable as a vision, of a bungalow where there was wellbeing and firelight and talk of a matrimony, and into the thick of that bungalow at that place came an old adult female in a long cloak. She was Ireland herself, that Cathleen ni Houlihan for whom so many vocals have been sung and about whom so many narratives have been told and for whose interest so many have gone to their decease. I thought if I could compose this out as a small drama I could do others see my dream as I had seen it.
The drama is about a immature adult male, Michael, being persuaded to contend for his state and fatherland. His enthusiasm and willingness to make so is a prefiguration of Yeats ‘ later poem “ September 1913 ” where he criticises the Irish who are non prepared to contend for their state in the same manner that the likes of Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmett were. The drama so is Yeats ‘ undiluted sentiment on how Ireland show be, every bit good as his visions for the resurgence. It is about distinguishable Irishness, courage and, because of the eerie nature of the Old Woman, it besides addresses Irish myth and folklore. It is about as though Michael is bewitched by the Old Woman, so certain is he about go forthing his household and his wife-to-be in order to contend for the “ four Fieldss ” .
In decision, it should be stated that the ideals and ethos of the Irish literary resurgence were manifested onstage to a great grade. The resurgence was evidently about alteration and both dramas discussed here are about alteration in some manner, and both about a new, different and modern Ireland. The Playboy of the Western World is a commentary on the lives of the people of the West of Ireland and is a drama about rebellion: Christy Mahon kills his male parent twice over. He is arising against the “ powers that be ” , similar to Michael if he follows the Old Woman. Cathleen Ni Houlihan, with its mysticism and elements of thaumaturgy, is particularly representative of the literary resurgence as a whole. It can be said so, based on these illustrations, that plays written during the resurgence were archetypical of the positions of the evangelists.