The Myth of Individuation in W.B Yeats's On Baile's Strand: A Jungian Perspective

Shima Peimanfard, Kamran Ahmadgoli


On Baile's Strand is an adroit reframing of the legendary Irish hero Cu`chulainn who despite displaying the greatest sparks of gallantry in the original legend, is not entirely phenomenal in Yeats 's literary work. Many critics believe Yeats recounted the saga of Cuchulain to jog Irland's memory of the moments of intensity, when the hero's quandary resonates with the national orchestra of pandemonium in the country. Yet this essay contends, the play offers more than a national allegory: it manifests a curious combination of psychological and political criticism in its deconstruction of the individualist paradigm, where the sacrifice of the individual's body (Cuchulain's son) in the cause of national politics is condusive to the sacrifice of individual's ethics (Cuchulain's selfhood) to the authority of dictated protocols. Therefore, through the lenses of C.G Jung's Individuation Process, the present article zooms on Cuchulain's pursuit of self, while traversing upon the archetypal stages of his psyche; shadow, persona and anima. The results illustrate, although in the early parts of story Cuchulain purports to satisfy Jung's theory, his progressive evolutionary line toward the last archetype (self) is ruptured with a sudden stroke of anima and hence the hero creates a myth of individusltion.


W.B Yeats; On Baile’s Strand; Individuation; shadow; persona; anima/animus

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