Seamus Heaney as a Irish Nationalist

Topics: Ireland, Bog, Republic of Ireland Pages: 4 (1271 words) Published: March 7, 2013

Heaney is widely considered Ireland's most accomplished contemporary poet and has often been called the greatest Irish poet since William Butler Yeats. In his works, Heaney often focuses on the proper roles and responsibilities of a poet in society, exploring themes of self-discovery and spiritual growth as well as addressing political and cultural issues related to Irish history. His poetry is characterized by sensuous language, sexual metaphors, and nature imagery. Soon after he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, commentator Helen Vendler praised Heaney "the Irish poet whose pen has been the conscience of his country." Bog” in the poem serves as the central metaphor that is symbolic of continuation of inhumanity, brutality, cruelty, and killing of innocent people throughout the human history. In the first, second, and third stanzas the poet using his sympathetic imagination describes the way the girl was punished on the charge of adultery. He creates the picture of a weak and fragile girl and seems to be suffering her pain and agonies. When the girl was punished, she was pulled her with a rope from her neck, she was made naked. The girl was trembling with cold, her whole body was shaking. In the last two stanzas of the poem, the poet repeats the same role of passive observer and links past and present. He compares the brutality of tribal men of first century AD and brutality of Irish Revolutionary Army. What he observes is that the perpetrators are different but the form of brutality is the same. In both past and present innocents are victimized for the crime. In Ireland Irish girls who married British soldiers were brutally killed by Irish Revolutionary Armies. The marriage between and Irish girl and British soldiers was viewed as an act of betraying Irish nationalism or Irish Revolution as suggested by the term “your betraying sisters”. The poet seems to be mocking the claim of modern men being civilized....
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