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Yeats Essay

549 words - 2 pages

From the mid 1880's to 1914, William Butler Yeats was at the hub of the Anglo-Irish literary revival "producing a stream of poems, plays, and manifestos" .Lloyd writes, that Yeats saw the function of the writer, and thus his own role, as one of mediating "the continuity of the national spirit," to uncover "common ground beneath political conflicts," so that Irish literature would become a central idea that formed a social bond.Among many poems of WB Yeats, Easter '1916', is specifically a response to a political event in Ireland. Easter '1916' referred to the 1916 Easter Rebellion of the Irish nationalists against the British colonists. Yeats captures the essence of the passionate nationalists:From cloud to tumbling cloud,Minute by minute changeYet in the first two stanzas of Easter, 1916 one can detect some confusion on the part of poet as he relates chance meetings before the uprising with those who later died and how they had seemed so ordinary; ironically, he seems startled by the posthumous discovery of the extraordinary within the ordinary. He exchanged with them "polite meaningless words" and mocked them behind their backs. The poet points out the tendency to transform martyrs into symbols by doing it rhetorically in the poem; their common purpose and subsequent death becomes, in the third stanza, a stone "To trouble the living stream" (85). But their common sacrifice seems "troublesome" to the poet, it is a "terrible beauty," and Lloyd suggests what troubled Yeats was that "this transformation takes place not through the intermediary of poetry but in consequence of violence itself" (69). As Frantz Fanon would write years later,...

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