A comparison of “Deirdre” and “On Baile’s Strand” by William Butler Yeats Essay

Deirdre and On Baile’s Strand are two dramas by William Butler Yeats that incorporate a tragic vision. Both dramas trade with a individual tragic minute in the life of an of import figure. The dramas are similar in construction and manner. Yeats interweaves supernatural elements in both dramas — the Shape Changers in On Baile’s Strand and the fortunes of Deirdre’s birth and the inquiry of her parenthood in Deirdre. The terminations of the dramas are similar. nevertheless. the procedure of coming to a decision in the dramas is different.

In both of these dramas. Yeats gives readers the back land. information about the characters. and sets the scene at the beginning. In On Baile’s Strand Yeats uses two characters. the Fool and the Blind Man. whose intent in the drama was to depict the state of affairs and the characters involved. In Deirdre Yeats uses a

group of three female instrumentalists to put the scenes and give information about the characters. Even with this similarity. nevertheless. there is a difference. In On Baile’s Strand the Fool and the Blind adult male are non straight involved in the action of the drama. The exclusion is at the terminal of the drama when through them. Cuchulain learns that he has killed his lone boy. The Fool and the Blind Man speak prose while the instrumentalists in Deirdre sing. The three female instrumentalists in Deirdre. nevertheless. are spoken to and reply the chief characters in the drama. In both cases. the Fool and the Blind Man. and the three female instrumentalists have knowledge that the other characters do non.

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The scenes of the dramas reflect the chief characters. In Deirdre. a calamity with a female chief character. the scene is feminine and action takes topographic point in a guest-house in sereneness of the forests. On Baile’s Strand. a calamity with a male chief character. the scene is masculine and the action takes topographic point in an assembly-

house near a rough sea.

No lone is On Baile’s Strand masculine in the sense that it takes topographic point near a rough sea. it is besides without to the full human adult females. The one to the full human adult female. Aoife. that is mentioned in the drama. is seen as an evil influence. Conchubar tells Cuchulain:

That really adult female —

For I know good that your are praising Aoife —

Now hates you and will go forth no nuance

Unknotted that might run into a noose

About your pharynx … ( 28 )

However. Cuchulain remembers her as being of “stone-pale cheek and reddish-brown hair” and stated that

None other had all beauty. queen or lover.

Or was so fitted to give birth to male monarchs. ( 28 )

With Cuchulain’s graphic descriptions of her. Aoife. although she is non seen in the drama. is able to be seen every bit clearly as the other characters.

In both of the dramas. the most dramatic portion revolves about two things: decease and the unknown. In Deirdre. Deirdre pleads with Conchubar to save her and Naoise’s lives. She is incognizant that Naoise is already dead. She did non see Conchubar gesture to the “dark-faced men” who gag Naoise and draw him out of position. Deirdre pleads with Conchubar. stating him that he will necessitate Naoise some twenty-four hours. but Conchubar merely laughs. Deirdre tells him:

You will shout out for him someday and say.

“If Naoise were but living” — [ she misses Naoise ] .

Where is he?

Where have you sent him? Where is the boy of Usna?

Where is he. O where is he? ( 69 )

This is the most tragic portion of the drama. Even more tragic than the deceases of Deirdre and Naoise because everyone except Deirdre knows that her pleading is ineffectual.

The most dramatic scene in On Baile’s Stand comes after Cuchulain kills the Young Man. non cognizing that he is his boy. The Blind Man tells Cuchulain that he knows the Young Man’s female parent:

BLIND Man: I knew him and his female parent at that place.

CUCHULAIN: He was approximately to talk of her when he died.

BLIND Man: He was a queens boy.

CUCHULAIN: What queen? what queen? [ Seizes Blind Man who is now sitting upon the bench ] Was it Scathach?

There were many Queenss. All the swayers there were Queenss.

And further into the conversation the Fool Tells Cuchulain that the Blind Man said “the immature adult male was Aoife’s son” and that he had besides heard Aoife say that she has had merely one lover. and he was the lone 1 who had defeated her in conflict. The Blind Man is the 1 to state “it is his ain boy he has slain. ”

Another of import component found in the drama is the thought of perfidy or treachery of trust. In both Deirdre and On Baile’s Strand. perfidy consequences in decease. In Deirdre Fergus trusts Conchubar and is betrayed by him ; and he betrays others in the drama by non unwraping cognition he has. Naoise trusts Fergus. and to some extent Conchubar. and is betrayed. Deirdre trusts Naoise and becomes a victim with him after he is killed. Deirdre betrays Conchubar twice. First when she runs off with Naoise and fells for seven old ages. and once more before taking her ain life. Conchubar betrays both Deirdre and Naoise in order the win Deirdre and punish Naoise for stealing her from him and. in bend. this is when he is betrayed by Deirdre and Naoise. Early in the drama. after Naoise realized that Conchubar has non sent a courier to run into with them. Fergus tells Deirdre and

Naoise that Conchubar will get in individual. Naoise responds that “he can non interrupt his faith” and “I have his word and I must take that word. ” After seeing a chess-board and retrieving the narrative of Lugaidh Redstripe and his married woman. who both died after being betrayed Naoise speaks:

If I had non King Conchubar’s word I’d think

That chess-board baleful. ( 53 )

Fergus recalls the tall of Lugaidh Redstripe as “the narrative of perfidy. A broken promise” that is best forgotten.

In On Baile’s Strand. Cuchulain is betrayed by the curse he made to Conchubar when Conchubar calls him on it after the Young Man’s reaching. When Cuchulain refuses to contend the Young Man. Conchubar tells him that “witchcraft has maddened you. ” Cuchulain recognize he had been betrayed after he kills his boy. He runs out to the sea to contend the harsh moving ridges. which he sees as an image of Conchubar.

Deirdre and On Baile’s Strand are two dramas whose result is based on the calamity continuing award. Cuchulain’s award of Conchubar in On Baile’s Strand. and Deirdre’s award of Naoise and Naoise’s award of Conchubar in Deirdre. The ownership of cognition the reader has about the events of the drama heighten the tragic effects found in both Deirdre and On Baile’s Strand.


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