Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

K. C. Davis

Number of Pages



In this thesis I will explore the Gaelic mythos as it evolved in Irish drama throughout the twentieth century. I will begin by surveying postcolonial theories of imperialism's effect on culture, drawing comparisons to Ireland's reaction to colonialism. I will then discuss the Celtic Revival movement, as propagated by W. B. Yeats, Lady Augusta Gregory and John Millington Synge at the turn of the twentieth century. I will discuss this movement's use of Gaelic folklore and mythology through its drama; Next, I will consider this mythology's reception by later dramatists, represented by Sean O'Casey and Brian Friel. I will examine these playwrights' reaction to the ideologies of the Celtic Revival as revealed in their plays; After surveying the history of the Gaelic mythos, I will then investigate the drastic economic and social changes of the last few decades in Ireland. I will question whether the new "Celtic Tiger" Ireland still needs the mythos of the past; Finally, I will explicate contemporary works by Marina Carr and Martin McDonagh to determine these playwrights' attitudes toward the Gaelic mythos. I expect to find that these contemporary dramatists reject this system of beliefs as inadequate and dangerous for a people whose circumstances are very altered from those of their predecessors.


Century; Drama; Evolution; Gaelic; Ireland; Mythos; Twentieth

Controlled Subject

Theater; British literature; English literature--Irish authors; Irish literature

File Format


File Size

1361.92 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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