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Analysis of Byzantium Poem by William Butler Yeats - Essay Example

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"Analysis of Byzantium Poem by William Butler Yeats" paper examines “Byzantium” poem in which the poet presents an image that is at once very simple, its images being stripped of all form, and at the same time very complex, in that it leaves no form or function for the human mind to grab hold of. …
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Analysis of Byzantium Poem by William Butler Yeats
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Download file to see previous pages For Yeats, Byzantium represented the highest ideals in art, spirituality, and knowledge, a kind of heavenly realm in which nothing ever changes but remains perfectly representative of the inner essence of art, beauty and spirituality. This is a city that cannot be conceived of by the average mortal and can indeed only be partially grasped in partial form by a living poet in the throes of vision. However, it is a land for human spirits, a place where they can throw off the “complexities” of life in favor of the eternal purity that is housed here. Without knowing anything at all about the conception of Yeats, but merely relying on the evidence provided within the text of the poem itself, it is possible to grasp this concept of an eternal and unnaturally unchanging perfection of being that so transcends form and rises above function that it remains beyond the living human’s ability to understand or fully appreciate. Through word choice, image comparison and the fate of the “complexities”, Yeats presents us with a sense of geography that communicates his image of Byzantium without any previous knowledge of the poet himself to better understand the geography of the mind.

Yeats’ choice of words within “Byzantium” provides a great deal of information about the city he’s describing. From the beginning line with the word “unpurged,” (1) he sets up a spiritual language that denotes a passage from one state of being to another as the impure thoughts of day retreat into the background. Immediately, the reader has a sense of distance between the everyday world we know and the alternate, purified world contained within the poem.  The following lines further emphasize this retreat of the human world by describing the “drunken soldiery” (2), the loud and boisterous humans, as being “abed” (2) and the night sounds “recede” (3) following the “cathedral gong” (4) signaling time to go to sleep. The reader has either crossed into the world of the dream or the world of the spiritual (i.e. death).  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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