Irish Literature And Rebellion Essay

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Irish Literature and Rebellion
In the heart of every Irishman hides a poet, burning with nationalistic passion for his beloved Emerald Isle. It is this same passion, which for centuries, Great Britain has attempted to snuff out of the Catholics of Ireland with tyrannical policies and the hegemony of the Protestant religion. Catholics were treated like second-class citizens in their native home. Centuries of oppression churned in the hearts of the Irish and came to a boil in the writings and literature of the sons and daughters of Ireland. The Literary Renaissance of Ireland produced some of the greatest writers the world has seen. John O’Leary said it best, “literature must be national and nationalism must be literary” (Harmon, 65).
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Although he was politically active, his focus was more on the cultural and literary realms than on a violent rebellion
“At the end of his life he was still wondering if his early writing had helped to seed the rising, to ‘send out / Certain men the English shot’ (“The Man and the Echo, lines 11-12”)” (DLB 19, 420). [I was unable to find a copy of “The Man and the Echo” in print so I downloaded and from the internet and have attached it.] He goes on further to question how because of his poems, he has caused the destruction of homes and families, “Could my spoken words have checked / There whereby a house lay wrecked?” (The Man and the Echo, line 15-16). Yeats considers himself responsible for the death of his friends and others family. He is disappointed that his ink could be the reason for bloodshed.
The “rising” that Yeats is talking about is the Easter Rising of 1916. On April 24, 1916, a group of Irishmen that called themselves the Irish Republican Brotherhood led by Padraic Pearse and James Connolly’s Ctizen Army, posted the Declaration of the Republic on the door of the General Post Office in Dublin and declared Ireland a free country. [I have also attached a copy of the Declaration of the Republic for reference.] Unfortunately, although anticipated by the nationalist’s leadership, the British Troops quickly suppressed the rebellion and the signatories were swiftly executed as an example to the Irish. In the end, the rebels…