An Irish Airman Foresees His Death. W.B Yeats

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  • An Irish Airman Foresees his death
    • Form
      • "The years to come seemed waste of breath, A waste of breath the years behind"    - Chiasmus (repetition of phrase) or Anadiaplosis (phrase ending one clause +  then beginning next one)
      • Tight structure – echoes the certainty that he will die
      • Iambic Tetrameter
      • The caesura  ‘this death’ – emphasizes the death and the balance to the rest of the poem – his life. Alternatively it could be him faltering; losing the certainty he had throughout the poem that death was the only option.
      • trochee on drove - stresses the word.
    • Context
      • Written as an elegy to Major Robert Gregory,
        • It has been inferred through the remaining letters written by Major Robert Gregory that he did (perhaps) not much like Yeats.
      • Evidence that Irish fighters in WW1 were considered traitors to Irish people by the IRB. some reports that many that survived the war (or their families if the men themselves had not survived the conflict) were later murdered by the IRB/A
      • The ‘lonely impulse of delight’ is slightly ambiguous; it is most likely the Lakists’ Romantic ideal of a moment of pure emotion, -- ‘The Cold Heaven’ – ‘Ah!’ this highly Romantic statement echoes the great Romantic poets
        • Links
          • Conflicts with ‘The Man and the Echo’ where Yeats feels ‘there is no release in bodkin or disease’ (in death).
          • The Airman has broken from the flow of life, become stationary and committed to die as if ‘enchanted to stone’ – a metaphor used in ‘Easter 1916.’
          • ‘Waste of breath’ linked to ‘drank the wind’ in ‘Among School Children’ – both suggest the lack of substance in life/politics.
          • ‘In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Constance Markievicz’, -- innocent people lose their beauty, their youth, and their lives as a result of their political involvement. "When withered old and skeleton-gaunt, An image of such politics"
          • September 1913- Delirium of the brave = lonely impulse of delight
    • Links
      • Conflicts with ‘The Man and the Echo’ where Yeats feels ‘there is no release in bodkin or disease’ (in death).
      • The Airman has broken from the flow of life, become stationary and committed to die as if ‘enchanted to stone’ – a metaphor used in ‘Easter 1916.’
      • ‘Waste of breath’ linked to ‘drank the wind’ in ‘Among School Children’ – both suggest the lack of substance in life/politics.
      • ‘In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Constance Markievicz’, -- innocent people lose their beauty, their youth, and their lives as a result of their political involvement. "When withered old and skeleton-gaunt, An image of such politics"
      • September 1913- Delirium of the brave = lonely impulse of delight
    • Quotes
      • "Clouds above" geographically indistinct"
      • "My country is Kiltartan Cross - My countrymen Kiltartan's poor" Gregory

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