Robert Burns | Critical Essay by Carol McGuirk

This literature criticism consists of approximately 20 pages of analysis & critique of Robert Burns.
This section contains 4,353 words
(approx. 15 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Robert P. Wells

Critical Essay by Carol McGuirk

SOURCE: "'Tam o' Shanter': The Truth of the Tale," in Robert Burns and the Sentimental Era, The University of Georgia Press, 1985, pp. 149–61.

Below, McGuirk analyzes Burns's use of irony in "Tam o' Shanter."

"Tam o' Shanter" tells the story of a drunken farmer who encounters a witches' dance on his way home from a market day carousal in Ayr. The poem offers an adult's retrospective view of horror stories; there is an overtone of indulgent irony in the sections of the poem that describe the witches' dance and its gruesome concomitants. Thomas Carlyle [On Heroes, Hero Worship and the Heroic in History, 1966], writing of the poem, objects to its evident detachment:

"Tam o' Shanter" itself, which enjoys so high a favour, does not appear to us, at all decisively, to come under this last category [of Burns's melodious, aerial...

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This section contains 4,353 words
(approx. 15 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Robert P. Wells
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