Yeats, W. B. The Golden Helmet.
Summary and Analysis
- a nationalist play
- presents all characters (except the Red and Black Men) dressed in different shades of green
Conal and Leagerie are visited by the Red Man and suggested to play a game of executing each other. They refuse, the Red Man gets angry, and Conal cuts off his head. He takes it under his arm, leaves for sea, but promises to come again the next year. He does so and demands someone to have his head cut off as his was. The men refuse, but he warns them to come the next year for the last time and if he founds nobody willing, the both men's shame will befall Ireland.
Cuchulain arrives, but the men do not recognise him and do not let him enter, so he breaks in. The Red Man comes and Cuchulain drives him out of the house. The Man returns, brings a golden helmet, and orders them to give it to the bravest of them. The two start arguing, but Cuchulain pours beer into the helmet, drinks, and lets his friends do the same so that the helmet would belong to each of them. The men's servants start arguing about the matter, but Cuchulain stops them. The men's wives arrive and start arguing whose husband is the best to decide which of them is to enter the house first. Cuchulain removes the windows to let all three women enter at once. The row about the helmet continues, so Cuchulain throws it into the sea.
Suddenly the Black Men cover the Moon, darkness comes, and the Red Man appears. He demands a head of a man to return peace to Ireland. Cuchulain offers himself immediately, is not executed, but given back the helmet and declared to be the best of the men – as proved in the test arranged by the Red Man.
AuthorYeats, William Butler. (1865 - 1939).
Full TitleThe Golden Helmet.
First PeformedDublin, 1908.
Yeats, W. B. The Golden Helmet. (1908). Collected Plays. London: Macmillan, 1953.