Aleel’s Transcendental Vision in W.B. Yeats‘s The Countess Cathleen


  • Fawziya Mousa Ghanim Ins. University of Baghdad


Aleel, The Countess Cathleen, W.B. Yeats, Transcendental Vision


The Countess Cathleen is a short play in five scenes, set in sixteenth century Ireland. It is the first play, Yeats has written especially for the stage and the first play to be performed by the Irish literary. Theatre seated in the hall of the Ancient Concert Rooms in Dublin. It represents every aspect of the social and political life of the province (Frazier 1987,p.240). The Countess Cathleen [originally Kathleen] was written in 1889. Published in 1892, but produced on stage only in 1899, the play was written with Maud Gonne in mind, shortly after she met Yeats. The story of the play is based on a traditional tale of ''the Countess Cathleen Oshea , a story, he has found and thought suitable for a poetic drama''(Jack1984,p.150), when he was preparing his Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (1888), and was intended for Maud Gonne to act in Dublin. The play has a simple episodic plot, the Countess Cathleen rejects her dreams for the reality of life; she opposes the efforts of two-demon-merchants to buy the souls of her starving peasants. She insists to sell her soul for a high price, in order to free her people's soul and save them from starvation. Aleel, the Countess's bard, tries to prevent her from fulfilling her will, but she prefers the world of responsibility and sacrifice rather than the world of dreams and love. In spite of Aleel's attempts to persuade her, she goes on to achieve her holy quest. The salvation of her people is her only wish, though; even she sold her soul to the demon-merchants. As a result she dies of grief for her own lost soul,"but, because her motives are pure, she is permitted to enter heaven"( Demastes 1997,p.403) , the gates of heaven are described by the angel who is seized by Aleel.




How to Cite

Ghanim, F. M. . (2022). Aleel’s Transcendental Vision in W.B. Yeats‘s The Countess Cathleen . European Journal of Social Science Education and Research, 9(2), 149–158. Retrieved from