An Analysis of the Poem A Prayer for My Daughter by William Butler Yeats

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"A Prayer for My Daughter" is a poem written by William Butler Yeats in 1919. This poem is a prayer-like poem. And it generally tells about the poet's ideas about his daughter who is sleeping at the same time while the poem is being told. Throughout the poem Yeats reflects how he wants his daughter's future to be. This essay will analyze the poem in three sections: 1- What does this poem mean?, 2- The poetic devices, imagery, rhyming, figures of speech, used in the poem and mood, diction, language, and the structure of the poem, 3- An essay in a feminist point of view titled "What does the poet want his daughter to become?" .


The poet is watching his infant daughter sleep. In the first stanza he starts
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Related with the third stanza, the fourth stanza refers to Helen herself, who "being chosen found life flat and dull," and also to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who chose her spouse the cripple, Hephaestus. Helen "had much trouble from a fool", the fool is Menelaus, the husband of Helen, whom she deserted in favor of Paris. Whereas Aphrodite suffered from "being fatherless", hence without a father to guide her, Yeats intends to be a guiding father to his young daughter.

The fifth stanza describes the quality that Yeats came to see as at the very heart of civilized life: courtesy. By courtesy he understands a means of being in the world that would protect the best of human dignity, art and emotion. And in his prayer for his daughter he wishes that she will learn to survive with grace and dignity in a world turned horrific. He explains that many men have hopelessly loved beautiful women, and they thought that the women loved them as well but they did not.

In the sixth stanza he hopes that his daughter will be a "flourishing hidden tree", which is not rebel but kind and happy, but contains her happiness within a particular place. And additionally he wants his daughter to be not argumentative and aggressive, or perhaps quite and secure, "rooted in one dear perpetual place." When combined with the previous line, the last line clearly defines his hope fro daughter to live in a victorious life
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