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The Rising of the Moon is a propaganda play in that it openly supports a political cause, namely the cause of Irish nationalism. The play's author, Lady Gregory, was a strong supporter of Irish nationalism, particularly its cultural dimensions. In this regard, she was one of the main figures in...

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The Rising of the Moon is a propaganda play in that it openly supports a political cause, namely the cause of Irish nationalism. The play's author, Lady Gregory, was a strong supporter of Irish nationalism, particularly its cultural dimensions. In this regard, she was one of the main figures in the movement towards developing a distinctive Irish theater that would spearhead an indigenous cultural renaissance.

The Rising of the Moon encompasses both the political and the cultural dimensions of Irish nationalism. Lady Gregory presents politics and culture as being inextricably linked rather than separate as many artists believed at the time. Self-described aesthetes regarded art as occupying a realm all of its own, from which all the grubby little aspects of daily life, including politics, had been expunged. On this view, art served no purpose, indeed would be cheapened were it to be put to some further end, be it political or otherwise.

Suffice to say, Lady Gregory and her fellow Irish nationalists strongly opposed this view of art. They saw art as having a fundamental role to play in raising the nationalist consciousness of the Irish people, which had for so long been repressed under centuries of British rule. The transformative power of art is revealed most strongly in The Rising of the Moon when the singing of an old patriotic ballad is enough to reconnect the police sergeant, a functionary of British colonialism, to his Irish roots.

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