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William Butler Yeats is an Irish that was born on June 13, 1865, andbegan writing poems at the age of fifteen years. He was engaged inpolitics and even became a senator in 1922. He also married MaudGonne, who was an Irish revolutionary that played a great role inchanging how Yeats looked at issues (Saxton & Cole 98). Thispaper will capture Yeats’ background and how it influenced hispoems such as the “,” which seems to addressthe elderly and mortality too.
Politics, law and art are the few changes that influenced Yeat’searly life as a poet. In fact, most of his works often incorporatedthe two fields in a bid to fight for the rights of the averagecivilians. His interaction with Maud Gonne, who was an Irishrevolutionist, changed his perspective on politics and he understoodthe challenges that people were facing (Saxton & Cole 110). Fromthat point, some of his poems even addressed the issues that most ofthese people were facing. Maud Gonne exposed him to the ideologiesthat the revolutionary wanted to establish in the nation, and heembraced some of the ideas in the process. After he had marriedGeorgie Hyde-Lees, he began to explore spirituality to understandwhat it offered in the long-run (Saxton & Cole 111). Forinstance, the poem “” reveals how the speakeris moving from his country home so that he can achieve the spiritualenrichment. In this case, he believed that some greater forces hadthe ability to control human nature and other important aspects too.Later, he ventured into politics where he got the position of asenator representing the people of the new Irish Free State (Saxton &Cole 114). More important, the responsibilities did not prevent himfrom writing other poems and pieces of literature too. For instance,his works even ensured that he had acquired the Nobel Prize inLiterature since his poetry had inspired the nation and gave a voiceto the ones that could not reveal their disappointment.
Thepoem targets the elderly audience that might seem confused and thinksthat old age is an end. However, the poem reassures them that itmight be a phase where they can undergo rebirth and ensure that theyhave achieved more. The speaker asserts that “an aged man is but apaltry thing” (Yeats line 8) to reveal how youths in his countryhave abandoned the elderly. The scenario relates to my grandfatherthat was forced into early retirement just because of his age. Inthis case, most organizations believe that the older people are lessproductive and they used that opportunity to sack him. The poem alsoreminds the older adults that everyone is mortal and death isinevitable so no one should be afraid of the uncertainties (Smajli223). It also warns the younger people that ignoring the elderlypeople is not the best idea since they still have the wisdom andexperience to guide them in making certain decisions in their lives.
In conclusion, the poem captures the challenges that the elderly facetrying to fit into the society and deal with certain dilemmas thatthey might face. His early life shows how he has been able toincorporate his background into the poems he wrote. More important,he had acquired vast knowledge from politics, law and art, which heused in addressing common challenges that communities experienced.For instance, in the poem “” he talks aboutthe elderly, and how they are forced to stay at home lonely withoutanyone to cater to their needs. Most of his works focused onagitating for the rights of certain groups that were being oppressed.
Saxton, Benjamin, and Thomas R. Cole. "No Country for Old Men: asearch for masculinity in later life." International Journalof Ageing and Later Life 7.2 (2013): 97-116.
Smajli, Brikena. " and Byzantium of WBYeats–A Symbolical Viewpoint According to the Creation of PrimalElements." Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies2.4 (2013): 223.
Yeats, W.B. “.” Poetry Organization,https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/sailing-byzantium.Accessed 18 March 2017.