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Yeats’ Symbolism Essay

1189 words - 5 pages

Symbols have been used often in the history of our planet. Cultures such as Egyptians used literal symbols in their writing to represent objects such as animals and water. However, symbols don’t always mean a written figure. Often the word symbol means a metaphorical representation of something using something completely unrelated in literature or in speech. In fact, almost any work that has lasted all these years contains major symbolism in some way or another. William Butler Yeats, a great writer of the early twentieth century, wrote many incredibly symbolic and meaningful literate works. The following five poems of William Butler Yeats all have important symbols in them that are crucial ...view middle of the document...

So in this way, he relates himself in an obvious way, saying at one point he was nothing to her but one of many equally unimportant males who were constantly after her, begging for her to settle down with them and in doing so give up her strives.
Next, Yeats uses a personal representation of a log cabin as a symbol for peace and serenity in his poem, The Lake Isle of Innisfree. In line 5 he says, “And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow.” One can’t be entirely sure what the poem itself is truly about, but it seems as though it has something to do with a disappointment Yeats had experienced or just the stress of everyday life that he felt the need to try to escape from into some imaginary world. Regardless of the circumstances, it is obvious that the idea of this cabin or location surrounding it symbolizes some sort of peace he has been missing and wishes to return to. This symbol of the cabin is personal rather than cultural because it seems to be very specific, pertaining only to one with the sound of bees and a lake around it, like it’s pertaining to a specific experience in his life.
To continue, Yeats poem, The Wild Swans at Coole, has a slightly more obvious symbol than previous poems, the personal symbol of a swan. There are fifty nine swans in fact, though I know not whether this observation is actually relative to him in a philosophical way as well as literal. In this work, Yeats used the swans as an idea of good memories or companionship, saying in lines 19-21, “Unwearied still, lover by lover, They paddle in the cold Companionable streams or climb the air.” The way he gives such details of his past nineteen years of seeing the same group of swans as well as his descriptions of their actions as displayed in the passage above definitely show this symbol was a very personal realization for Yeats. The end of this poem is very deep and meaningful, as he wonders to himself when he will return one day without their presence, and also wonders to whom they will bless presence upon.
Subsequently (at least in order of the texts in Prentice Hall’s most recent Common Core publishing of “Literature: The British...

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