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Cathleen Ni Houlihan

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 350
  • Category: Ireland

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Cathleen Ni Houlihan is a play written by William Butler Yeats. The setting of Cathleen Ni Houlihan is Killala. Killala is a small village, which located in Ballina, Ireland. It is an important place in Irish history. Before Ireland gained independence from Britain through the Irish War of Independence in the end of 1921 or in the middle of 1922(It is only approximate since the exact date could not be found), three Irish Rebellions occurred in 1641, 1798 and 1916 respectively. Irish Rebellion 1798 which happened in Killala Bay has its story told on the play of Cathleen Ni Houlihan. According to Irish legend, Cathleen Ni Houlihan as known as Poor Old Woman, which translated from Sean-Bhean Bhocht, is a personification of Ireland. In my opinion, Cathleen Ni Houlihan is a mirror of the spirit of Irish unity. It showed Yeats’ patriotism too. We could prove it through some lines in the play. For example, Old woman said “The hope of getting my beautiful fields back again; the hope of putting the strangers out of my house.” The fields that mentioned in the play are referring to four provinces of Ireland. There are Connaught, Ulster, Leinster and Munster.

Besides, the strangers refer to those English people who invaded Ireland. She can never rest until the English left the place and returned all the lands back to her. Second, Michael shows his love for his country by joining the rebellion war voluntarily. From the very beginning of the story, it is clearly show that Peter and Bridget are concerned in Michael’s wedding preparation whereas Patrick is more interested in the noise outside. Peter has built his wealth from scratch so Bridge attaches great importance to Michael’s wedding but Peter is more occupied himself with the money (Delia’s fortune) that Michael brings back. Through the Patrick’s line “Will Delia remember, do you think, to bring the greyhound pup she promised me when she would be coming to the house?” we know that Delia is from a wealthy family because nobles in Ireland like to keep greyhound as a pet.

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