Presentation on theme: "An Irishman Foresees his Death By W. B. Yeats. Yeats V Wilfred Owen Famously, Yeats did not rate the poetry of Wilfred Owen very highly and excluded the."— Presentation transcript:
An Irishman Foresees his Death By W. B. Yeats
Yeats V Wilfred Owen Famously, Yeats did not rate the poetry of Wilfred Owen very highly and excluded the English WW1 poet from The Oxford Book of Modern Verse, In particular Yeats argued that: “passive suffering is not a theme for poetry” In contrast, Owen himself outlined his ideas about poetry in the following way: “This book is not about heroes. English poetry is not yet fit to speak of them. Nor is it about deeds, or land, nor anything about glory, honour, might, majesty, dominion, or power, except War. Above all I am concerned with Poetry. My subject is War, and the pity of War. The poetry is in the pity….All a poet can do today is warn. That is why true poets must be truthful.”
Read “Futility by Wilfred Owen. To what extent do you think that Yeats’ criticism is justified in relation to this poem?
An Irishman Foresees his Death kE kE
An Irishman Foresees his Death 1.Read the poem 2.Write down five adjectives to describe the tone of the voice of the airman. 3.Summarise in one sentence what you consider to be the airman’s attitude towards war. 4.To what extent is “a lonely impulse of delight” driving the airman to war surprising? 5.Is his attitude admirable? 6.Professor Langdon Hammer suggests that “Yeats puts himself into the aircraft”. To what extent can the pilot be seen as a version of Yeats? Consider how Yeats saw the role of the Irish poet to involve “disdain of the crowd, heroic loneliness and struggle”. 7.The poem was prompted by the death of Robert Gregory, son of Lady Gregory. Regardless of the biographical context, consider why Yeats may have been drawn to write about “an airman” not a soldier, and his motivation for generalising Robert into an “Irish Airman”. 8.Consider how this hero, in this context, relates to the heroes such as Aengus of the Celtic Twilight poems.
The Style of the Poem 1.Find examples of the language that show the poem to be modern, spare and conversational. 2.Are there any examples of words or phrases that recall the earlier Yeats manner? 3.What does the simple structure add to the poem? (lines metred in iambic tetrameter; four grouped quatrains of alternating rhymes)
The Attitude to War 1.Evaluate the view that the poem presents “an absurdly romanticised heroism” and that it reveals Yeats’ “ignorance of the reality of trench warfare.” 2.What might be the political significance of an “Irish” rather than a “British” airman? 3.150,000 Irishmen fought in the trenches alongside the British in WW1, of whom 40,000 died. What evidence is there for this in Yeats’ poem?
Yeats versus Owen With reference to “Futility” and “An Irishman Foresees his Death”, what are the main differences in the attitude and approaches of the two poets?
Interpretations of the Poem 1.Watch these two contrasting performances of the poem. 2.Make notes on how the versions contribute towards your understanding of the poem.