Deirdre and the destruction of Emain Macha : Jungian archetypes and Irish drama

Daly, Nora F. (1999) Deirdre and the destruction of Emain Macha : Jungian archetypes and Irish drama. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis is a Jungian investigation of the dramatic treatment of the Deirdre legend at the birth of the Irish Renaissance. At the turn of the century, George Russell (A.E.), William Butler Yeats and John Millington Synge appreciated the potential cultural value of Irish archetypes inherent in the story of Deirdre and the destruction of Emain Macha. Though each of these dramatists interpreted the archetypal image of Deirdre in different ways, their three plays emerge as socio-cultural commentaries on contemporary Irish society. An archetypal investigation of these Deirdre versions elucidates each dramatists concern with the future of Irish culture, and their belief in the power of a pagan symbol to act as a beacon to guide the country in its quest for cultural unity. -- This paper begins with a detailed explanation of the oldest surviving Deirdre text entitled "Longes Mac N-Uislenn" from The Book of Leinster. Also discussed is "Oidheadh Chloinne Uisnigh" from the Glenmasan manuscript, for this text is pivotal in the legend's development. The next section is an exposition of Jung's theory of archetypes and how they apply to the Deirdre legend in general. -- Chapters three, four and five are commentaries on how Russell, Yeats and Synge used the archetypes inherent in the Deirdre legend to further their own personal agendas. I will argue that these dramatists did more than simply reintroduce Deirdre to Dublin audiences; rather they used her archetypal image to write cautionary tales. Their plays demonstrate how contemporary sectarian and political agitation could only lead to a modem, if metaphoric, "destruction of Emain Macha."

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9043
Item ID: 9043
Additional Information: Bibliography: pages 90-98.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1999
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: AE, 1867-1935; Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939; Synge, J. M. (John Millington), 1871-1909; Deirdre (Legendary character) in literature; Archetypes in literature

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