1. One of the important themes in Yeats’s writing is his exploration of the relationship between the natural and the artificial, and particularly the relationship between nature and art. With particular reference to the two Byzantium poems, describe how Yeats characterizes this relationship. Does he prefer the natural to art, or art to nature?
2. Some of Yeats’s least accessible poems are his works of visionary history, which often incorporate themes from A Vision and seem, on the surface, thematically irrelevant to contemporary readers. How can these poems best be understood—in other words, should they be read today strictly for their magnificent language, or is there a way in which they embrace more universal elements of human experience than their occult, mythological frame of reference might imply? (Think especially about “Leda and the Swan” and “The Second Coming.”)
3. If you have read John Keats’s great “Ode to a Nightingale,” compare it to Yeats’s equally great “Sailing to Byzantium.” In what ways does the Yeats poem seem designed to refute the Keats poem? How does the singing golden bird differ from Keats’s singing nightingale?
4. “Adam’s Curse” is one of Yeats’s finest early poems, and one of his simplest and most moving love poems. How does the style of the poem mirror its explicit statement about beauty? How does it connect the labor of living with weariness in life and in love?
5. Compare and contrast “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” a very early poem by Yeats, with “The Circus Animals’ Desertion,” written not long before he died. What, if anything, do these poems have in common? How are they different? What does each poem say about the human heart, and how does the difference between those statements indicate Yeats’s development as a poet?
6. “The Irish Airman foresees his Death” is a good example of the way in which Yeats combines the political with the personal and the mystical. How does the airman’s involvement in World War I relate to his “lonely impulse of delight,” and what does the “lonely impulse of delight” say about his understanding of the war? What does the poem itself seem to say about the war?
7. Yeats’s style is quite unique among both nineteenth- and twentieth-century poets. What characterizes his poetic style? What kind of consciousness seems to be indicated by his rough meters, half-rhymes, and frequent violations of formal constraints? How do these traits affect, enhance, or interfere with his aesthetic articulation of his themes?
by nataliadelina, January 24, 2013
The Second Coming has many biblical references within the poem in my point of view. It talks about ideas from the book of revelations. In revelations an angel "opened an abyss"(Revelation 9:2) in which Yeats describes a "widening gyre"- a deep and bottomless pit. The bible also describes the world in its last days filled with: "abomination filled with desolation)". Yeats also discribes a world filled with chaos: "falcon cannot hear the falconer, anarchy, innocence drowned, best lack all conviction, blood- dimmed tide, and passionate intensit... Read more→
92 out of 102 people found this helpful0
by marnie94, April 11, 2013
This might give you a bit of context...
Good luck, and please follow!