“William Butler Yeats deals with an interesting variety of subjects and his poetry is full of powerful images and impressive descriptions. Discuss.” Submitted by Hollie McLaughlin.
I very much enjoy reading the poetry of William Butler Yeats. What I like about the poetry is the multi-faceted man who emerges. In Inisfree he is the searching, restless 25 year old, looking to nature as a kind of redemptive force. In ‘September 1913’ he is the ardent political critic of the soul-destroying materialism. In ‘Easter 1916’ he is again many-sided, the man who commemorates the great heroes and is able to confess he was wrong about their existence, as well as the man painfully aware of war’s wastage of youthful potential. My favourite, ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’, is Yeats as the disillusioned man whose “heart is sore”, the man of “unrequited love”, the man aware of mortality. In ‘Sailing to Byzantium’, Yeats symbolises universal man in search of meaning and permanence amid the transience of life. Who couldn’t be intrigued by this man!
In ‘The Lake Isle of Inisfree’, Yeats echoes for me, the longing we all experience at times to escape the urban jungle, the “pavements grey”. This grim image of oppression is something many people have to face worldwide. A frequent reoccurrence in the poetry of William Butler Yeats is his idea of an idyllic utopia. I quite liked the discrepancy between his two blissful paradises. In ‘The Lake Isle of Inisfree’ he speaks of the bucolic lifestyle found in Ireland. This poem represents Yeats’ Irish heritage. “I hear it in the deep heart’s core”. The second poem in which Yeats depicts a great fondness of a particular place is ‘Sailing to Byzantium’. It is said that Yeats has always had a profound interest in the Greek civilisation of Byzantium. There is a great contrast presented between these two ideal worlds of his, these being a sort of mythical place in comparison to a mere county Sligo.
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