A Structural Study of Narrative in Irish Myths and Folktales

Armin Zamani


Understanding how collections of various stories without a sole writer or narrator have come to be can seem very intriguing. Jeremiah Curtin collected numerous tales and stories as he traveled throughout Ireland and listened to citizens tell him stories which he compiled in three volumes, two of which, Hero-Tales of Ireland, and Myths and Folktales of Ireland, this study intends to investigate. They contain 44 stories of Irish myths and folktales altogether, from various cycles of Irish mythology; theories of Vladimir Propp help this article examine the narration and the narrative functions of the selected stories. The links between folklore and literature, history, reality, and time are also discussed; moreover, the Structuralist approach reveals much about the storytelling art rooted in the Irish culture has 38 narrative functions, as opposed to Propp’s 31 functions, are found within these stories which always follow the same order, whether they are active or not. Furthermore, the role of the narrators and their presence, the characters they use, and the motifs of each cycle of Irish mythology are discussed.


Folktale, Mythology, Ireland, Vladimir Propp, Structuralism, Narratology

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