Macbeth has all the ingredients of compelling drama
Mieats poetry is driven by a tension between the real world in which he lives and an ideal world he imagines”. I certainly agree with this statement. Yeats raises the issue, a common one of reality verses the ideal. Yeats is an idealist, yet he is looking at the reality certainly in two cases ‘September 1913’ and ‘Easter 1916’. We see that Yeats is escaping the reality to his ideal world in ‘The lake Isle of Inisfree’ and ‘Sailing to Byzantium’. As we analyse ‘September 1913′, we discover that the poem is a scathing criticism of the mercenary aterialism, which Yeats felt was rampant in Ireland 1913. September 1913’ is a political ballad that contrasts the old nationalists to the new nationalists. As we see in stanza one, Yeats portrays the new nationalists as scrooge like fgures whom are focused on praying and saving. The ‘shivering praying suggests the cowardice of the merchants. They don’t have the interests of the country at heart. O’Leary is a romanticised fgure by Yeats with qualities that Yeats felt have been long since lost on the Irish people. Here, in stanza two Yeats discusses the heroes of old nationalism ho are prepared to die for their country.
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Yeats idolises these men as these heroes had ‘little time’ to pray or save because they selflessly devoted their lives to the pursuit of a noble dream. In stanza 3, the emphasis on the word this’ suggests a removal from what was seen to be the norm view of the day. Yeats realises that the Fenlan heroes, such as O’Leary could be in vain. Was it for this the wild geese spread, the grey wing upon every tide’ Yeats is taken by surprise at Easter 1916. Yeats does a volte facie and realises that he was wrong in his poem of September 1913. He has changed his opinion about the modern nationalists.
Yeats shows personal resentment towards MacBride as he was referred to as ‘a drunken, vainglorious lout’, but then Yeats acknowledges his role in the Rising. Along with the other leaders of the Rising, MacBride ‘resigned his part in the casual comedy of life and became a compassionate hero. By listening the names of such dead heroes, Yeats consciously immortalises then in stanza four, ‘l write it out in a verse – MacDonagh and MacBride and Connolly and Pearse’. The closing lines restate the idea that the Rising ransformed men he had once regarded as fgures of fun into heroic martyrs.
The poem is dedicated to these mean who will be remembered in spirit ‘Now and in the time to be, whenever green is worn’ for they have been changes, becoming heroic and dying for this dream they had. The poem concludes with the memorable paradoxical image of the Rising ‘a terrible beauty is born’. This is a real example of how Yeats imagined the world and how the reality turned out. He believed that there were no people in Ireland with noble, nationalistic goals. Yet the Rising in Easter 1916 aused him to revise his opinion.
In ‘Lake of Inisfree’ Yeats deals with his need to escape to his ideal place. The simple language used in the first stanza is intended to give Innisfree a sense of timelessness. Yeats imagines here living the simple life, ‘A small cabin build there, of clay and wattle made’. But the change of tone at the end ‘pavements grey suggests his longing tor a lite ot treedom and selt-suttlciency. Perhaps he feels alienated from nature because he live in London which is referred to as the ‘Grey City. There is a formalistic, clear and distinctive structure in this poem.
The theme is simple and is reflected through the language and structure. The traditional rhyming scheme gives the poem its soporific quality. The rhythm is unusual, the fourth line of each stanza is shorter than the preceding one. Yeats personalises this poem as he repeats the sentence ‘l will… ‘, perhaps he is also trying to persuade himself to go to Innisfree. The use of broad vowels such as ‘peace comes dropping slow slows down the pace of the poem. The alliteration and onomatopoeia adds to the poems musical qualities, creating the sense ofa dream like world. l hear ake water lapping with low sounds by the shore’. In both poems ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ and ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’, there are some interesting comparisons and contrasts. In the two poems there is a longing to escape to a more appealing world. In ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ which is written in the early romantic stage of his career, Yeats search for a happier, more fulfilling life centres on the physical world, the world of nature. However in ‘Sailing to Byzantium’, Yeats rejects the physical world, longing instead for spiritual perfection in a perfect world of art.
Later in life his preoccupation shifted and his work dealt with his obsession with immortality and the passing of time, until he eventually came to accept the inevitability of death. This is conveyed through ‘Sailing to Byzantium’. The reality is that Yeats is over 60 years of age and is obsessed with growing old. This is exemplified by the opening line that is no country for old men, the young in one another’s arms birds in the trees’. He continues with his line ‘an aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick nd is contrasted with the vibrant, creative ‘soul’ or imagination.
The gyre which appears frequently in Yeat’s poem. This symbol appears in this poem, where the poet asks the ‘sages’ to ‘come from the holy fire’ to ‘perne in a gyre’. Although this is a complex image to understand, one can visualise the smallest point of a cone spiralling outwards before interlocking with another gyre. By this image, Yeats symbolises his belief in the evolution of the soul, that it can be separated from the body and live again in the artifice of the soul’. Yeats would like to see himself ifferently and seeks solace in a thought of a new life ‘Once out of nature I shall never take my bodily form from any natural thing.
Yeats also sets us thinking about the meaning and purpose of life by presenting us with contrasting images of youth the young in one another’s arm’ and age (the scarecrow) and art (the golden bird) and reality (the birds in the trees’). In The Second Coming, Yeats has an apocalyptic view of the world after World War 1 . The world doesn’t seem normal, the falcon cannot hear the falconer’ moreover things fall apart that the centre cannot hold’, and ere anarchy is loosed upon the world. Yeats is writing all of this in the after math of World War 1 .
It is a time of great upheaval. The reality is that Europe survived the aftermath of the World War 1. Yeats is unquestionably one of the all-time great literacy fgures. I found his poetry to be consistently interesting and thought- provoking, with his use of imagery and contrast being particularly effective in conveying his themes. The title of this essay is extremely apt. Yeats as I have shown, was constantly contrasting the differences between the world he lived in and his ideal world.