William Butler Yeat’s Poetry of Violence in Irish History Essay Sample
This essay sample shall deal with William Butler Yeat’s poetry of violence in Irish history, the Second Coming poem written by Yeat, and his quotes on violence.
William Butler Yeat and his popular poems on violence
A Nobel Laureate, William Butler Yeat was a popular Irish poet, dramatist, and prose writer who made a prominent position for himself in 20th century Europe.
This Irish modern poet was greatly influenced by French symbolists and was a political poet. He mostly depicts heroism in his poetry and wrote many poems on Ireland’s struggles with England and the political situation at that time.
His poetry was a reflection of his thoughts of body, anxiety, death, and mortality and had an influence of Freud’s theory.
His poetry had common words of ‘violence’ and ‘violent’ which comprises famous poems like ‘Second Coming’, ‘Second Troy’, ‘Leda and Swan’, ‘Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen’, ‘Under Ben Bulben’ and Cuchulain Comforted’.
In the year 1921, ‘Ancestral Houses’ begins ‘Meditations in Time of Civil War’ includes the elements of war, politics, creativity, sexuality, history, and psychology.
In 1921, Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen depicts Irish history and culture and violence in history.
The poem ‘Easter 1916’ is where the speaker himself with his history brings himself close to the voice.
‘The Second Coming’ by William Butler Yeat
After the first world war ended in the year November 1918 there were already civil wars going on in the countries. Ireland which is W. B. Yeat’s own country was into the civil war and Russia had a civil war revolution in the year 1917.
The civil wars taking place within the civil society of the countries led to huge bloodshed, anarchy, a disoriented and unorganized society with no proper state rule and civil order.
This made William Butler Yeat think that it is now going to the ultimate downfall of the Christian era. He believed that after every one historical period ends there is a rise in violence and disorder in the society. The Christian period started some 2000 years back then.
The word ‘second coming’ means that there will be an end of the Christian era and the starting of a new era having completely opposite traits of Christianity.
The Irish poet’s imaginative mind suggests a new age with a new form of God. The world war, tyrannical dark, and evil forces are observed as violent elements as claimed in the pre-Christian period.
This poem is divided into two sections where one section discusses the understanding of the present time period and shows an end of the Christian era and the rise of evil which is terrifying.
It carries a symbol of a falcon at the beginning which is a symbolic representation of the people who have lost unity, brotherhood, and order. This section depicts violence and disorder globally in modern times in a symbolic form.
The Second Coming has a second section with 14 lines which is a sonnet presenting the vision of the poet. Where the first part or section depicts the end of the historical period. The second part presents the image of the second coming and the image coming from ‘SPIRITUS MUNDI’.
It has a shape of a lion body with the head of a man which is dangerous and violent with no sign of mercy and pitiless in his eyes and heart.
William Butler Yeat’s Quotes on Violence
- Bodies of Holy men and women exude miraculous oil, the odor of violet. But under heavy loads of trampled clay Lie bodies of the vampires full of blood, Their shoulders are bloody and their lips are wet.
- Cats are oppressed, dogs terrify them, landladies starve them, boys stone them, every person speaks of them with contempt. If they were human beings we could have talked about their violence and studied them.
Adding our strength to theirs and organizing the oppressed like good politicians sell our charity for power.
- The common breeds the common, About budgets a lout, so when I take on half a scare I knock their heads about.
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The above sample mentions William Butler Yeat’s poetry on violence in Irish history.
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