‘The Irish Frankenstein’ in Punch, or the London Charivari
On 6 May 1882, the newly-appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish, and his Under Secretary, Thomas Henry Burke, were stabbed to death in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. The Irish politician Charles Stewart Parnell, released from jail four days previously, denounced the murders, which were committed by a militant separatist group. But Punch represents Parnell as Victor Frankenstein, cowering before his murderous creation, a simian-like Irish caricature. The broadsheet at the monster’s feet reads ‘Capt Moonlight’, a reference to Parnell’s 1881 statement, ‘Ah, if I am arrested Captain Moonlight will take my place’. Although Parnell remained a key figure in Irish politics, the murders were a profound setback to Irish Home Rule.
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