Presentation on theme: "Ellyn Willis Becca Zoller. William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was a Nobel Prize winning author of poetry and drama from Ireland. Yeats took part in the."— Presentation transcript:
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was a Nobel Prize winning author of poetry and drama from Ireland. Yeats took part in the Irish Literary Revival as well as co- founded the Irish Theatre with Lady Gregory (became the Abbey Theatre). He frequently uses Irish myth and legends in his work. He loved a woman named Maud Gonne, who many poems are based on. He married a woman named Georgie Hyde-Lees. Yeats also writes The Vision (1925) which is a philosophical, historical, astrological, poetic piece.
Part One: Line 9: I climbed Ben Bulbens back Ben Bulben is a mountain near Sligo, where many Irish myths took place Line 11: I must bid the Muse go pack Yeats muse was the woman he loved but couldnt attain, Maud Gonne Line 12: Choose Plato and Plotinus for a friend- Plato was a Greek philosopher, Yeats most likely draws here on his theories about the confusing abstract forms and material counterparts, Plotinus was a Neoplatonic Roman philosopher; Line 13-15: Until imagination, ear and eye/Can be content with argument and deal/In abstract things
We read this as Yeats felt he had to let go of his fascination with his Muse, Maud Gonne, in order to understand the abstractness of the world The speaker struggles with how he should handle age. He is no longer what he was, but a caricature. His imagination is more fertile than ever and he is choosing to go live in that abstract world.
Line 17: I pace upon the battlements refers to the tower of his house, Thoor Ballylee, located in Ireland Line 25-32: The story of Mrs. French and her serving-man who cut off an insolent farmers ear and brought them to her is a reference to an event recounted in Sir Jonah Barringtons Personal Sketches of His Own Times. Mrs. French was married to a wealthy squire and in a fit of rage exclaimed to have a mans ears cut off. The servant does this, being obedient, although it was a misunderstanding. Line 34: a peasant girl commended by a song refers to Mary Hynes of Ballylee, a peasant beauty who was seduced by a man who were maddened by her rhyme, the men fall into the bog of Cloone, another city in Ireland (line 48).
Line 49: but the man who made the song was blind refers to the poet Anthony Rafferty who was from Ireland and wrote the song Mary Hynes Line 51-52: Anthony Rafferty is compared to traditionally blind, Homer- Home that was a blind man Both poets wrote about beautiful women who have awful fates. Line 53: And Helen was all living hearts betrayed refers to Helen of Troy who was so beautiful and had to reject many men, which is basically paralleling Mary Hynes as beautiful like Helen of Troy. Line 57: Hanrahan was created by Yeats in another story titled Red Hanrahan Line 65-72: explains the story of Hanrahan that Yeats created. This is similar to the Greek myth about Diana and Acteon who saw her bathing naked. She turns him into a deer and he is eaten alive by his own hounds.
Lines 81-88: Yeats references a story about the man who lived in his room a hundred years ago, who were playing a game of dice and now to return to the speaker as ghosts in his memory. The speaker is also haunted by men-at-arms which refers to knights. Line 90: half-mounted man refers to a social climber in the Barrington book (with Mrs. French Line 92: red man refers to Hanrahan Line 93-94: Mrs. French,/Gifted with so fine an ear references literally Barringtons story. Line 103-104: Hanrahan the speaker admits to needing the story to answer his own questions- that one needs what they desire to continue functioning. Line 112: into the labyrinth of anothers being is an allusion to the Greek myth of the Minotaur with Theseus and Ariadne- which is possibly another situation of risking everything for desire
Depictions of tragedies that the speaker witnesses from his place upon the Tower of his house in Ballylee, such as the story of the man whose ears were cut off by Mrs. French and the story of Mary Hynes who was a peasant and too beautiful for her own good. With Hanrahan, Yeats shows readers that he desires to drive men mad through poetry, such as this man he created in a story. Hanrahans story shows that he lost grasp of his humanity because of his desires. Later is this section, Yeats questions these stories and what would possess people to lose everything in pursuit of what they desire. Yeats finds an answer in all the people who pass by him as they are all angry at their loss of youth. Yeats concludes this section saying that if you dwell on a woman lost then you lose your capacity to see anything elseany other good things in the world.
Line 132: The people of Burke and of Grattan refers to a speech Yeats made in the Irish Senate in 1925 in which he referred to himself as a common man through these terms. Edmund Burke fought for Irish legislative freedom; Henry Grattan fought for Catholic emancipation. Line 136: Or that of the fabulous horn This horn is the horn of plenty in Celtic mythology. It is a symbol of fertility associated with the Celtic goddess Epona. Line 140: When the swan must fix his eye/upon a fading gleam Swans are a symbol of love or fidelity in Irish myth. In the Irish legend The Wooing of Etain, the king of Sidhe transforms himself and Etain into swans to escape the Irish armies. Line 156: Translunar Paradise Yeats thoughts were influenced by Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. Line 166: The daws chatter and scream, Daws are Eurasian birds known for thievery.
The speaker, in his old age, writes his will and refers to upstanding men of Irish society who gave the best of themselves to their country, like objects that give of themselves- such as the fabulous horn. The speaker argues that Death and Life were not separate until man made them so. The speaker builds an elaborate dream composed of memories and poetry to protect him from his fate- this is shown through the symbol of the birds building a nest.
Plato and Plotinus said dont confuse the real with the abstract ideal. The speaker in this poem says that he understands this but he wants to believe in the ideal. He wants to believe the idea hes championing could be real. He builds this dream he wants to believe in and brings it to life with images. He prepares his idea through what hes learned from others, as well as poetry and memories and is keeping it and waiting until it hatches into its perfect form. The speaker concludes that he is no longer this upstanding young man, and is leaving faith and pride to them. He is leaving the activities of the young to the young. He will learn and work on the activities of his own soul until his body falls apart and everything around him is gone and he dies or until he loses his grasp on intelligence.