Preview
Preview

The Sidhe, the Tuatha de Danaan, and the Fairies in Yeats's Early Works

:: 10 Works Cited
Length: 2681 words (7.7 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Green      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The fin de siecle, or late 1800's, was an era not unlike our own: now we see many seeking "New Age" enlightenment; likewise, Yeats and many of his contemporaries looked for meaning in various areas of the supernatural. Ripe as the late 1800's were for spawning occult study, those were also times of political turmoil for the Irish, and Yeats became involved with Irish nationalism as well. His desire to express this nationalism was given voice through a Celtic literature that he hoped would inform and inspire his countrymen. Falling in love with a beautiful firebrand Irish patriot (who also had a taste for the occult) only served to further ignite the Celtic flames of imagination in Yeats.

References to supernatural Celtic beings and the Irish spirit world abound in Yeats's early poetry. To make these passages seem less arcane, a look at the Tuatha de Danaan, the Sidhe, and the fairies is helpful.

The Tuatha de Danaan literally means "people of the goddess Danu," Danu being a Celtic land or mother goddess, perhaps derived from the Sanskrit river goddess, Danu. Other associated names for her were the Welsh "Don," Irish "Anu" or "Ana," "Mor-Rioghain," and "Brighid."

The Tuatha de Dannan were considered supernatural, angelic-like beings who came to Ireland and encountered two groups that they successfully overcame. Epic battles were waged to defeat both the Firbolgs and the Fomorians.

The Firbolgs, early Irish settlers, were a short, dark race of men who derived their name from carrying clay in bags, or boilg, hence the name "fir bolg" meaning "bag men." Believed to be of early Greek origin, the mortal Firbolgs were overthrown by the god-like Tuatha de Danaan.

The other army that lost in combat with the Danaan fighte...


... middle of paper ...


...Richard. Yeats: The Man and the Masks. New York: Norton, 1979.

Gregory, Lady. Gods and Fighting Men. New York: Oxford UP, 1970.

Jeffares, A. Norman. A Commentary on the Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats. Stanford, CA:
Stanford UP, 1968.

Jeffares, A. Norman. W.B. Yeats: Man and Poet. New York: Barnes, 1966.

Malins, Edward. A Preface to Yeats. New York: Scribner's, 1974.

O hOgain, Daithi. Myth, Legend and Romance: An Encyclopedia of the Irish Folk Tradition.
New York: Prentice, 1991.

O' Suilleabhain, Sean. Irish Folk Customs and Belief. Dublin: Folklore, 1967.


Skelton, Robin, and Ann Saddlemyer, eds. The World of W.B. Yeats, revised ed. Seattle, WA: U of Washington P, 1967.


Yeats, W.B. The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats, 2nd revised ed. Ed. Richard J. Finneran.
New York: Scribner, 1996.


Yeats, W.B. Mythologies. New York: Collier, 1959.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Yeats + Friends Essay - ‘No poet in our day has written more about his family and friends than Yeats, and no one has been more successful in enlarging them to heroic proportions.' INTRODUCTION I will begin this essay with a brief history of the life of William Butler Yeats in order to secure an understanding of the social and historical context from which he created his works. I will then go on to explain the broad development of Yeats's poetic form, style and technique showing in particular how his works can be separated into two separate periods providing a brief account of the influences in each period on his themes, context and subtexts....   [tags: William Butler Yeats Poetry Family Focus] 1372 words
(3.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Analysis of William Butler Yeats' Poems Essay examples - Analysis of William Butler Yeats' Poems; When You Are Old, The Lake Isle of Innisfree, The Wild Swans at Coole, The Second Coming and Sailing to Byzantium In many poems, short stories, plays, television shows and novels an author usually deals with a main idea in each of their works. A main reason they do this is due to the fact that they either have a strong belief in that very idea or it somehow correlates to an important piece of their life overall. For example the author Thomas Hardy likes to deal with the idea of loss in many different ways within his poems some being positive and some being negative....   [tags: William Yeats, Poetry]
:: 3 Works Cited
1371 words
(3.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Yeats’ Sailing to Byzantium - Yeats’ Sailing to Byzantium       In "The Circus Animals' Desertion," W. B. Yeats asserted that his images "[g]rew in pure mind" (630). But the golden bird of "Sailing to Byzantium" may make us feel that "pure mind," although compelling, is not sufficient explanation. Where did that singing bird come from. Yeats's creative eclecticism, blending the morning's conversation with philosophical abstractions, makes the notion of one and only one source for any image implausible: see Frank O'Connor's comments on the genesis of "Lapis Lazuli," for example (211-22)....   [tags: Yeats Sailing Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
777 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on W.B. Yeats' Adam's Curse - W.B. Yeats' "Adam's Curse" Though written only two years after the first version of "The Shadowy Waters", W.B. Yeats' poem "Adam's Curse" can be seen as an example of a dramatic transformation of Yeats' poetic works: a movement away from the rich mythology of Ireland's Celtic past and towards a more accessible poesy focused on the external world. Despite this turn in focus towards the world around him, Yeats retains his interest in symbolism, and one aspect of his change in style is internalization of the symbolic scheme that underlies his poetry....   [tags: Yeats Poetry Adam's Curse Essays] 1779 words
(5.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Sociopolitical Philosophy In The Works Of Stoker And Yeats Essay - Sociopolitical Philosophy in the Works of Stoker and Yeats Around the turn of this century there was widespread fear throughout Europe, and especially Ireland, of the consequences of the race mixing that was occurring and the rise of the lower classes over the aristocracies in control. In Ireland, the Protestants who were in control of the country began to fear the rise of the Catholics, which threatened their land and political power. Two Irish authors of the period, Bram Stoker and William Butler Yeats, offer their views on this “problem” in their works of fiction....   [tags: essays research papers] 2655 words
(7.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Disenchantment with the Modern Age in Yeats' No Second Troy - Disenchantment with the Modern Age in Yeats' "No Second Troy"       "No Second Troy" expresses Yeats' most direct vision of Maud Gonne, the headstrong Irish nationalist he loved unrequitedly throughout his life. The poem deals with Yeats’ disenchantment with the modern age: blind to true beauty, unheroic, and unworthy of Maud Gonne's ancient nobility and heroism. The "ignorant men," without "courage equal to desire," personify Yeats’ assignment of blame for his failed attempts at obtaining Maud Gonne's love....   [tags: Yeats No Second Troy Essays] 1155 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
W.B. Yeats' Poetry Essay - W.B. Yeats' Poetry Many literary critics have observed that over the course of W. B. Yeats’ poetic career, readers can perceive a distinct change in the style of his writing. Most notably, he appears to adopt a far more cynical tone in the poems he generated in the later half of his life than in his earlier pastoral works. This somewhat depressing trend is often attributed to the fact that he is simply becoming more conservative and pessimistic in his declining years, but in truth it represents a far more significant change in his life....   [tags: W.B. Yeats Poet Poem Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
2310 words
(6.6 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
William Butler Yeats' The Cap and Bells Essays - William Butler Yeats' The Cap and Bells William Butler Yeats’s ballad “The Cap and Bells” depicts the behavior of love through an allegorical account of actions between a jester and a queen. Through the use of many symbolic references, the dramatic characters accurately reflect a lover’s conduct. Referring to jester-like men throughout many of his works (“A Coat”, “The Fool by the Roadside”, “Two Songs of a Fool”, “The Hour Glass”, etc.), Yeats continually portrays the actions of humans as foolish many a times....   [tags: Poetry William Butler Yeats Cap Bells Essays] 2341 words
(6.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Symbolism and Style in Yeats' Byzantium and Joyce's The Dead - Symbolism and Style in Yeats' “Byzantium” and Joyce's “The Dead” James Joyce and William Butler Yeats are perhaps the two most prominent modernist writers of the twentieth century, and both have left their unique stylistic legacies to English literature. Though these fellow Irishmen wrote at the same time, their drastically different styles reveal distinctions in their characters and standpoints, and comparing them provides intriguing glimpses into two deeply individual minds. One area in which an obvious difference in approach exists is the way each uses symbolism; whereas Yeats often uses a heavy symbolism placed in the foreground of his works to reveal broader truths and ideological bel...   [tags: Yeats Byzantium Joyce Dead Essays] 2468 words
(7.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
An Analysis of Yeats' The Second Coming Essay - An Analysis of Yeats' The Second Coming Yeats' poem "The Second Coming," written in 1919 and published in 1921 in his collection of poems Michael Robartes and the Dancer, taps into the concept of the gyre and depicts the approach of a new world order. The gyre is one of Yeats' favorite motifs, the idea that history occurs in cycles, specifically cycles "twenty centuries" in length (Yeats, "The Second Coming" ln. 19). In this poem, Yeats predicts that the Christian era will soon give way apocalyptically to an era ruled by a godlike desert beast with the body of a lion and the head of a man (ln....   [tags: Yeats Second Coming Essays]
:: 10 Works Cited
1835 words
(5.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]