Ireland and Irish Nationalism in the Poetry of William Butler Yeats

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Ireland and Irish Nationalism in the Poetry of William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet, a dramatist, and a prose writer - one of the greatest English-language poets of the twentieth century. (Yeats 1) His early poetry and drama acquired ideas from Irish fable and arcane study. (Eiermann 1) Yeats used the themes of nationalism, freedom from oppression, social division, and unity when writing about his country. Yeats, an Irish nationalist, used the three poems, “To Ireland in the Coming Times,” “September 1913” and “Easter 1916” which revealed an expression of his feelings about the War of Irish Independence through theme, mood and figurative language.

The theme of nationalism dominates in “To Ireland in the Coming
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Yeats implied that Irish freedom fighters, such as O’Leary, have died in vain. He also inferred that there were no longer any people who were willing to fight for Ireland:
Yet they were of a different kind,
The names that stilled your childish play,
They have gone about the world like wind, (Finneran 108)

The contemporary Roman Catholic middle classes had defeated the cause for which Yeats fought for at that time; hence Yeats felt oppressed by his own people. (Abram 2303)
The theme of social division appeared in “September 1913” because Yeats detested the middle classes and their Philistine money grabbing (Abrams 2303) as describe in the first three lines:
What need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence (Finneran 108)

To Yeats, the middle classes had forgotten their own history. They insulted the memories of the Irish heroes who fought for freedom and the rights to be Catholic.
Through this poem, Yeats suggested that the middle classes only cared about money, not the freedom of their country. He tended to romanticize the aristocracy and peasants but hated the middle classes for their indifference to Ireland. (Abrams 2303) Yeats also implied that because of the selfishness, they made everything meaningless, destroying the romantic Ireland.

In contrast, the poems “To Ireland in the Coming Times” and “Easter 1916” carried the theme of unity. In the
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