A Prayer for My Daughter : William Butler Yeats - Summary and Critical Analysis
| A Prayer for My Daughter by William Butler Yeats opens with an image of the new born child sleeping in a cradle. A storm is raging with great fury outside his residence. A great gloom is on Yeats mind and is consumed with anxiety as to how to protect his child from the tide of hard times ahead. The poet keeps walking and praying for the young child and as he does so he is in a state of reverie. He feels a kind of gloom and worry about the future of his daughter.
| He says “As I walk and pray for my younger daughter I imagine in a state of excitement and reverie” that the future years (years of violence and bloodshed and frenzy) have already come and that they seem to come dancing to the accompaniment of a drum which is beating frantically. These future years are seen by Yeats’ imagination as emerging out of the murderous (treacherous) innocence of the sea. In other words, the sea seems to be innocent but is capable of giving birth to those howling storms which are capable of leveling everything.
| Yeats wants his daughter to possess some qualities so that she can face the future years independently and with confidence. Yeats says: Let her be given beauty but a more important thing is that her beauty should not be of a kind which may either make her proud of her beauty or distract a stranger’s mind and eyes. Those whose beauty is capable of making them proud consider beauty an end in itself. The result is that pride leads to their losing natural kindness in some cases of that heart revealing intimacy which helps them to make the right choice in life. Being able to make the right choices in life is a very important thing but those who have excessive beauty are unable to do so and never find a good fried in the true sense of the world. The great thing about the poem is that it has a specific as well as general applicability. At the same time the poem makes an indirect...
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