The Wild Swans at Coole

Manipulation of Language and the Dichotomies of Human Experiences 11th Grade

A study of the poetry of William Butler Yeats illuminates the dichotomies of human experiences, dichotomies that he explores through his skillful manipulation of language and form. Yeats’ literary genius and the organic unity of his work are most evident in his poems, ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’ (1916), ‘The Second Coming’ (1919) and Easter, 1916 (1921). The contradictory ideas of youth and age are explored symbolically in ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’. The philosophical views that he portrays are ultimately reflective of his context and his personal fear of death and aging. Opposing themes of authority and chaos are embellished in ‘The Second Coming’ through religious imagery and disturbing symbols. Moreover, the conflicting ideas of change and permanence are made evident in ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’ and ‘Easter, 1916’. Essentially, Yeats explores the dichotomies of human knowledge through his distinctive use of language and form and such exploration has allowed his poetry to transcend the confinements of time and place.

In ‘Wild Swans at Coole’ Yeats allows us to experience the distinctive contradiction between youth and age through the manipulation of symbols and the development of his authorial voice. This work explores his...

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