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...
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