Irish Airman foresees his death

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An Irish Airmen foresees his death.


Context and important information

·      The air man is a specific person: Major Robert Gregory; killed in 1918 ( son of Lady Gregory).

·      The poem is a series of balances- a way of looking at life and death.


“We make politics from the argument with others and poetry from the argument with our selves.”-Yeats


·      He works at excepting stoic (excepting) fatalism (a belief in destiny and fate)

·      The poem is revolved around Major Gregory’s death. He died before his time, so there are always questions why he died

·      By making Gregory the speaker of the poem he tries to objectify like and detach him self from it, so he can come to terms with the fact he is going to do.

·      This poem explores the concept of tragic joy, the which of highest self surrender and highest self perfection – this is dangerous for the mindset. If you are at the peak of happiness and perfection why carrying on living as things cant get any better?

·      Poem gets more poetic at line 11 other than that its quite stripped back and has a lot of monosyllabic words

·      By using Gregory’s voice to symbolize all the soldiers that have died.

·      As Gregory is Yeats mouthpiece, Yeats can present his views through him.

·      This poem is an elegy = in memory of someone

·      Bases on Italian saying “sprezzatura” no real regard for life


Structure, form and rhyme.

·      There is strict alternate rhyme

·      Strict iambic tetrameter to emphasize balance ideas about life and death.

·      Lyrical poem = personal and direct

·      It is quite conversational by rhyme scheme and rhythm make it musical ( like a nursery rhyme)



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