W. B. 예이츠의 극시 메이브 여왕의 노년 연구


A Study on W. B. Yeats’s Dramatic Poem The Old Age of Queen Maeve


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The Old Age of Queen Maeve(1903) is a very short pure dramatic poem, which deals with Queen Maeve’s heroic episode related to the god of love Aengus’s love affair in the ancient pagan period of Ireland. In this work Yeats expresses his strong will to disinter almost forgotten ancient narratives and propagate them among the contemporary Irish people who are getting quite unfamiliar with them, and at the same time he expresses his admiration of his beloved Maud Gonne more overtly and proudly than in any other work by juxtaposing/overlapping her image with that of Queen Maeve.
This poem, along with such long dramatic poems as The Wandering of Oisin(1889) and The Shadowy Waters(1906-12), belongs to the same group of narratives in that all of these are related to his unrequited sweetheart Gonne. However, The Old Age of Queen Maeve is somewhat different from those two in the manner the poet takes toward his beloved, and in this poem he deplores that she too will grow old and die though she is as great, beautiful and passionate a woman as Queen Maeve was.
In those two longer poems the star-crossed lovers follow heartbreaking pattern of love―meeting only after their death. But in The Old Age of Queen Maeve the lovers are supposed to meet each other in this world eventually, however long time it will take, as Aengus was to meet his lover Caer by the help of Queen Maeve and her grandchildren.
In this article the present writer intends to descry Yeats’s purpose of using the ancient Irish myths and his power of creating an individual mythology based on them, and interpret the symbolical meanings caused by the overlapped images of Maeve and Gonne.


  • 이세순 Se-Soon Lee. 중앙대


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