William Butler Yeats: the Lake Isle of Innisfree

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William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature, was both born and educated in Dublin Ireland; he was awarded the Noble Prize for literature in 1933. One of his most famous poems, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” was written early in his career as a poet. In the poem, Yeats takes the reader to a small island away from the chaos of everyday life, an island where the poet imagines he will go to live independently. The reader is transported, with the poet, to a place far away from schedules, deadlines, and stress. Yeats uses alliteration, end rhymes, and other poetic strategies to transport the reader to his imaginary getaway: the Isle of Innisfree. One technique Yeats uses in his poem is anaphora. In the first line of the poem Yeats writes, “I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree.” Yeats repeats the word “go”, stressing the fact that he really wants to “go” to his imaginary world: Innisfree. Yeats includes a caesura to develop the feelings of wanting to escape to Innisfree and to emphasis the faults in everyday society. He adds the caesura after the phrase, “I will arise and go now.” He put this unnatural stop there to enhance how he feels about going to Innisfree. This determination of leaving this world reflects the problems of the society that humankind has. All these troubles cause people in our society to think about an ideal place; we don’t appreciate our real lives; we would rather live or dream about a perfect for you. This idea is reflected in Yeats’ poem. Another technique Yeats uses is alliteration. One example of alliteration in the poem is when Yeats writes, “and I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow.” This line refers to going to Innisfree and escaping the outside world and its pressures. The narrator is searching for peace and hopes to enjoy his life slowly without it rushing past him. He uses the “s” and “c” sounds in “some” and “peace” to stress this point:

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