Easter 1916 is a notable literary work by William Butler Yeats. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of Easter 1916.
I have met them at close of day Coming with vivid faces From counter or desk among grey Eighteenth-century houses. I have passed with a nod of the head Or polite meaningless words, Or have lingered awhile and said Polite meaningless words, And thought before I had done Of a mocking tale or a gibe To please a companion Around the fire at the club, Being certain that they and I But lived where motley is worn: All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born. That woman's days were spent In ignorant good-will, Her nights in argument Until her [...]
Writer: William Butler Yeats
Title of the Author: Irish poet, dramatist, writer, and politician
Full Title: Easter, 1916
Original Title: Easter, 1916
"Easter 1916" is a poem by W. B. Yeats remembering the Easter Rising. It was an armed rebellion in Dublin, Ireland, in 1916. The poem is divided into four stanzas with a total of 80 lines. 1st and 3rd stanzas have 16 lines each and 2nd and 4th stanzas have 24 lines each. The 16 lines originally indicated the 16 people killed in the armed rebellion. On the other hand, the 24 lines originally indicated the day armed rebellion began on April 24. So, it is clear that the main theme of this poem is Easter Rising.
The poem begins with Yeats musing on the various people he knew in Dublin, both personally and through the cultural and political circles. He reveals the contrast between these individuals' ordinary lives and their extraordinary roles in the Easter Rising.
The poem cites several key figures of the Easter Rising, including Patrick Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh, John MacBride, and James Connolly. Yeats realizes that many of these figures were concerned with the arts and culture, and he had known them as poets, teachers, and friends. However, during the Rising, they evolved into martyrs and heroes.
The theme is an essential part of the Literary work. “Easter, 1916” by W.B. Yeats surveys several themes that are the most important for clearing conception. Look at the main themes of the poem to get a quick conception.
Historical Events and their Impact: The poem delves into the Easter Rising of 1916. It is a significant historical event in Ireland's struggle for independence from British rule. It reveals the actions of those involved in the Rising and their lasting impact on Irish history.
Ambiguity and Ambivalence: Yeats conveys a sense of ambiguity and ambivalence towards the events and people involved in the Rising. He tussles with conflicting emotions, as he knows some of the individuals who became martyrs, and he questions the ultimate significance of their actions.
Heroism and Sacrifice: The poem acknowledges the heroism and sacrifice of the leaders of the Easter Rising, who willingly faced death for their cause. Yeats bears tribute to their courage and dedication.
Allusion: Yeats gives references to historical and mythological figures and events to convey a deeper meaning. For example, he indicates figures like Patrick Pearse and James Connolly, as well as the "terrible beauty" of the Easter Rising.
Imagery: The poem utilizes vivid imagery to create a powerful visual and emotional impact. Yeats employs descriptive language to evoke the scenes and emotions associated with the Easter Rising.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words."
Explanation: In these lines, the speaker mentions their initial indifference and detachment from the rebels, dismissing them with a casual nod or insincere words of politeness.
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or gibe.
Explanation: The speaker reveals a lack of enthusiasm for the rebels and resorts to making fun of them, sharing jokes and mocking stories about them with friends, often at social gatherings.