W. B. Yeats: The Heroism Of Myths And Myth In Irish Poetry

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Myth has always been a source of attraction to modern poets. The elements of remoteness, mystery and the heroism of myth serves a large variety of applications in contemporary poetry. For W.B.Yeats and Mahmoud Darwish, myth is a weapon to fight against English and Israeli occupation. By incorporating into his work the stories and characters of Celtic origin, Yeats endeavored to encapsulate something of the national character of his Ireland in order to revive the Irish literary heritage. Darwish employs myth to resist Zionist appropriation of it. The employment of myth by Darwish subverts the convention of national identities, providing an alternative to those myths that were thought to be rigid and definitive. This paper aims at exploring…show more content…
Yeats will take inspiration from the myths and legends of ancient Ireland in order to create an Irish literature. Cuchulain as a character appears many times throughout Yeats ' work and it is useful to explore the historic significance of this character. The legend of Cuchulain is a story that predates the arrival of Christianity to the island. Cuchulain is a character that appears in the Ulster Cycle of stories, and he, much like Hercules or Achilles of the Greeks, and other heroes of myth, was a superhuman warrior figure. Cuchulain 's birth was considered divine in origin and supernatural father figures . As a youth, he defeats one hundred and fifty of King Conchobar 's troops on his way to the royal court. Arriving at the royal court of King Conchobar, the young Cuchulain demands weaponry and then proceeds to break fifteen sets of weapons given to him. Special magically strengthened arms had to be made to withstand Cuchulain 's godlike might. His prowess on the field of battle is legendary and is said to have overcome an entire army sent to dispose of him by entering into a supernatural berserk frenzy or 'warp spasm '. When frenzied, Cuchulain cannot make a distinction between friend and foe and some of his allies are victims of his battle madness…show more content…
In discussing Darwish’s employment of myth, two poems will be analyzed: "Hoopoe” and “Phases of Anat.” One poem in which Darwish employs myth is “Phases of Anat.” Anat, the moon goddess, distinguished herself in the Canaanite epics with strength and courage; and though she became known as a warrior she was also identified with fertility and considered to be the goddess of life. The cult of Anat spread from Phoenicia and Canaan to Egypt, and a sanctuary thought to be built by Ramses II in Egypt was discovered by archaeologists to have a pillar dedicated to Anat. Furthermore, it is of particular interest that the name “Anat” is similar to many localities in Israel, such as “Bet-Anat”. So, both Israelis and Arabs share the same story. Darwish mourns the loss of Anat, and calls for her return in his poem “Phases of Anat.” He states, I want you both, together, love and war. "Oh Anat to hell with me …. I love you, /Anat! ... We broke/like a fence over your absence …/Our prayers calcified. Nothing/lives after your death … Perhaps/new goddesses will descend upon/us in your absence and we’ll be/ruled by a mirage … You’ll return./You’ll return the land of truth and/allegory, the land of Canaan—the/beginning/the land that opens/between your communal breasts/and your communal thighs, so that the miracles will

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