Fear The Faerie Folk By William Butler Yeats Essay
Children have heard the stereotypical fairy tales from their elders for generations. Within each story falls certain characters- many of whom seem to share the same archetypal role. The maiden in distress, the clever trickster, the handsome and noble royal. One of these literary tropes is the use of a supernatural spirit- and this character changes depending heavily on where the story is being told as well as its influences. For many children coming from Celtic heritage, a common character to learn from is that of the faerie- a mysterious being who taunts humans and plays with their lives. This folktale-based creature is tied heavily to many of the fears that people have (and fears that they have had in the past). Authors have told stories of these complicated beings for many centuries, but perhaps one of the most invested authors, William Butler Yeats, shows how this myth and the people who tell is are connected. Yeats uses popular Celtic folklore to represent and inspire fear of danger and temptation within his poetry.
Learning About Celtic Folklore
First, it is vital to understand some of the history behind the Celtic ideas of fairies. It is very well known that Irish culture tends to lean towards this phenomenon—“In popular culture, the idea of Irishness has long been associated with the idea of fairies and leprechauns.” (Heininge 101) I’m sure that this quote conjures up pictures of the stereotypical fairy in many minds—however, this is not the…