Yeats Sailing to Byzantium

  • Created by: Izzy
  • Created on: 14-05-13 14:59

Sailing to Byzantium points:

1.     The title

a.     Reference to the Tower of Babel

b.     The idea that people can come together for good but a greater force can destroy it

                                               i.     A combination of men built it but God destroyed it because he did not like it

                                              ii.     Yeats could be referring to the destruction of WW1

                                            iii.     Or the limitations of language

                                            iv.     Or the clash of cultures is inevitable

2.     ‘Byzantium’ was the former name for Istanbul

a.     Symbolises artistic freedom

b.     Idea that he is searching for artists freedom

c.      Use of ‘sailing’ suggests the journey and not the destination

d.     The sea is an inefficient journey to Byzantium but Yeats takes it anyway

e.     This emphasizes the importance of journey

f.      But metaphorically life is journey so Yeats knows he wont every reach Byzantium

3.      Yeats suggests that he has already left Ireland

a.     ‘That in no country for old men’

b.     Frustrated at his age and feels he doesn’t fit in

c.      He wants to go too Byzantium so the ‘sages’ can take his body away and allow him to be immortal and live on forever

d.     He doesn’t want to be caught up in the war and death in Ireland

e.     ‘The young in one another’s arms, birds in the trees’

f.      Youth emphasize Yeats age and…


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