Cap and Bells (Yeats)

1391 Words Dec 21st, 2012 6 Pages
Commentary on The cap and Bells
By: Rahiwa Abdulalim
Word Count: 1369

William Butler Yeats’s “The Cap and Bells” depicts the behavior of love through an account of actions between a jester and a queen. Through the use of many symbolic references, the characters accurately reflect a lover’s actions towards his loved one. For example when Referring to jester-like men throughout many of his works (“A Coat”, “The Fool by the Roadside”, “Two Songs of a Fool”, etc.), Yeats is continually portraying the actions of humans towards love as foolish. Furthermore, "Cap and Bells came to Yeats in a dream most likely steaming from his obsessive infatuation he had for Maud Gonne. Being an acclaimed actress, Yeats most likely perceived Gonne as
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The windowsill becomes symbolic of the queen’s spirit. As the jester’s soul rises to the ledge, it hopes the queen’s spirit will allow him to enter. As the second stanza continues, one reads “It had grown wise-tongued by thinking / Of a quiet and light football”. With each line smoothly transitioning to the next, the idea Yeats creates continuity without breaks. Such a technique creates a feeling of acceleration, compelling a reader to carry on his thoughts from line to line. As in the example, the jester has learned to speak with wisdom due to his constant thinking upon this game of love as a football. A football has two points, one on each end, and travels in a direct path when thrown. Love is a similar game, for it travels in a direct path from the sender to the receiver in hopes of being caught and returned. The sentence structure and constant use of semicolons throughout the third, fourth, and fifth stanzas of “The Cap and Bells” are two elements, which take the reader past the surface to find meaning. He explains that after ignoring the soul of the jester, the queen “rose in her pale night-gown”. Not only does the night-gown reinforce the idea of night, but the “pale” color suggests that the queen thought little of the offering the jester gave her, for the “pale” color states the absence of emotion. The addition of the

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