By 1798 many of the uprisings by the United Irishmen against their British overlords had been brutally crushed. French Revolutionary troops tried to intervene, but after initial success, were heavily defeated. In this nationalist piece, which was on the opening bill of the Abbey Theatre, Yeats combines history with the mythical figure of Cathleen (played at its premiere by Maud Gonne), a figure he had already portrayed in The Countess Cathleen (1892). Later he was concerned about the effect his play had had on young Irishmen: ‘Did that play of mine send out | Certain men the English shot?’
Subjects: literary studies (20th century onwards) — literary studies (plays and playwrights).
Related content in Oxford Index
W. B. Yeats (1865—1939) poet