Poems of W.B. Yeats: The Rose

Yeats' Lapis Lazuli as an Exploration of the Role of Art College

William Butler Yeats articulates a variety of opinions concerning the arts in his poem Lapis Lazuli. As the poem begins the speaker appears to refute a definition of artistic purpose, but as the poem closes the speaker’s words illuminate a different reality, in which artistic purpose is re-evaluated and redefined. According to the poem, the purpose of art is founded in its ability to rise above tragedy in a reflective manner in order to reestablish hope and progress in a new era. The beautiful nature of art and transforming societies is founded in the rubble of destruction and devastation.

As the poem opens, the speaker critiques the purpose of art as overreaching and neglectful of reality. The blame for devastation is transferred from humanity to the corruption of art in society. According to the text, “if nothing drastic is done Aeroplane and Zeppelin will come out.” The speaker believes that immediate action must be taken in order to prevent further wars and bombings from occurring. The gaiety of artists fails to motivate immediate action. It is fickle and wasteful. Art, in all its forms, is implemented into society to distract humanity from the realities that it faces. It is due to this disillusionment that wars occur in the...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 729 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4246 literature essays, 1408 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in