Questione Irlandese

Categoria:Inglese Letteratura


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The history of Catholic Ireland has always been affected by its closeness to England. The kings of England started to gain control over it in the 15th century. In the 17th century they encouraged English and Scottish Protestants to settle in the north-east of Ireland or Ulster. The Protestant king William in the 18th century allowed laws against Catholics and for this reason in Ulster the clashes between Protestant and Catholic groups became more frequent.

The Act of Union linked Ireland to Britain and abolished the Irish Parliament in 1801. In Ireland there was the crisis of potatos that caused a famine and as potatos were the only resource for Irish People, a million people starved to death, many of them emigrated to the US. Many of this poeple organized riots and rebillions also because belived that they wanted justice that would never been achived through the existing system. The Prime Minister Gladstone made the HOME RULE so that Ireland could control its internal affairs while London could manage its internacional affairs.

Protestants and Catholics fought over Home Rule in the early decades of the century. Catholics wanted to oppose themselves to the Protestants by the Constitution of the Republican party of Sinn Féin (=overselves alone). Because of the first World War Home Rule was passed but there was the Irish volunteers rebillions in Dublin on Easter Monday 1916 which failed with the death of some leaders though they were regerded as heroes. In 1921 there was a division of Ireland into two entities: THE IRISH FREE STATE (Self-Governing) and NORTHEN IRELAND (ruled by Britain), the IRA had always wanted the complete independence of the land from British rule and it is only in 1949 that the IRISH FREE STATE became the Republic of Ireland.

The characters may have a mask. This reinforce the idea of their superficial acquaintance.
The poem was written to commemorate people who died.
the first protagonist is a woman. The woman thought that what she was doing was right, but the presence of "ignorant" means that the poet did not approve this "good-will" of the Irish cause. It is a personal judgement of the author. The woman wasted some of her feminine aspects. She change her voice from sweet to shrill. There is a sort of nostalgia for the past situation.
the second protagonist is the man
the third protagonist is another man: the poet says that he is losing his positive features, such as his sensitive side, and his sweet thoughts (as well as the previous woman).
These people are wasting a part of their personal life.
the protagonist has not decided the comedy, he is living minute by minute. This is an other image related to theatre.
the fourth protagonist, a drunken. The poet mentions him even if this man is supposed to have brought a "bitter wrong" to a woman he loved. But everything has changed, and also this men deserves to be commemorated.
The Irish can not understand if what they do is right or wrong: this is call political FANATICISM(you may use violence to get your purpose: it can lead to lack of humanity).
They have changed their life, from a meaningless life into a new one where the strong meaning is the fight for an independent Ireland. In this sense political idealism becomes political fanaticism.
v.67 the poet wonders whether this kind of death was useful or not, because England anyway was ready to allow the Home Rule. The revolt was considered needless because it did not change anything.
a terrible beauty:
it is a paradox.
Beauty: admiration
Did Yeats feel admiration for these people?
The poet felt admiration for them because they are heroes, but anyway there is a negative opinion to balance beauty, which is the adjective terrible.
Terrible: impression, fear, disappointment, disillusion, incredulity.
We can notice there are contrasting feelings which reflects the poet's opinion towards the rebels; it was an event of heroism, but it was a mistake.
Death/birth: the revolt (the revolt didn’t change anything and the death was needless) means death, but also the birth of heroism and the resurrection of the myth.
Easter can be interpreted as the rebirth of the myth. The rebels are myths, heroes, now.