No Second Troy Analysis
The poem seems to be divided into two parts: lines 1 through 5 deal more in the empirical realm (from emotional pain to political defiance and out rage), while lines 6 through 12 veer off into the ethereal- and apocalyptic- world of ancient Troy and its Helen. WHY should I blame her that she filled my days / With misery describes the pain of Yeatsâ€™ unrequited love. â€¦ that she would of late / Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways refers to Irish nationalists drawn to both her beauty and her nationalistic tendencies. That Yeats refers to them as â€˜ignorantâ€™ implies Maudâ€™s intelligence. My favorite line of the poem is: Or hurled the little streets upon the great, where â€˜little streetsâ€™ is a reference to Irish nationalists and commoners rising up against the strength of a great British Empire. Yeats, it seems, has little confidence that the level of what they desire- an autonomous Ireland- would be met by an equal level of courage, hence the line: Had they but courage equal to desire. Lines 6 through 10: Yeats exalts his would-be love by etherealizing her as above what he condemns in his own time (not natural in an age like this / Being high and solitary), and predicates upon her qualities of a goddess (peaceful, nobleness, beauty), even a warrior goddess (fire, like a tightened bow, most stern). His language between lines 6 and 12 is suddenly one of allusions, memories and ideas that the earily Greeks would have known. He continues in line 11 with an allusion to Fate and Necessity, two ideas most certainly known by ancient Greeks, when describing her actions as being necessitated by her character (those attributes mentioned through lines 6 and 10): what could she have done, being what she is ... Then comes- once again with Yeats- an apocalyptic consideration, a consideration which seems to me to be a synthesis of the empirical and ethereal tones of the poem as a whole: Was there another Troy for her to burn. In one...
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