A few of the cartoons and caricatures for this week feature Hibernia as a personification of Ireland as a nation. She is a pretty young woman and far more appealing to behold than the Fenian monsters around her. These ‘pests’ make her visibly frightened and in need of a strong outside force to keep her safe from them. Britannia fills this need and is depicted alongside her as strong, unafraid and armored. Hibernia leans on Britannia or hangs on her arm, expressing her dependency on the other woman. Beyond the personification, Ireland is illustrated as requiring Britain’s strength in defending itself against the bestial Fenians. This version of Ireland is more attractive to be sure, but is weak, vulnerable and helpless. Hibernia is a preferable image to the British viewer as a sort of little sister to their own Britannia. Lovely but pitiable, she is not any more a positive model for the Irish than the Fenian Frankenstein.
Posted by: ellenlarson | October 13, 2010
Hibernia as the “Other” Ireland
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