• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Commentary: The Scholars by W.B. Yeats.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Commentary: The Scholars by W.B. Yeats. William Butler Yeats is a renowned turn of the century poet. He composed a countless number of works while alive, one of which was The Scholars. The Scholars was written in two stanzas, each comprised of six verses. While on the surface level this poem may not carry much deep meaning, a little research and understanding of the more meaningful allusions and other literary devices within the poem reveals a whole other level. The first stanza is the more bland of the two. Yeats starts out by writing: "Bald heads, forgetful of their sins." Here we see Yeats referring to the scholars as 'bald heads', which can say a lot. First off, by the tone and way in which he uses it, along with the fact that bald is somewhat socially unacceptable and therefore implies a negative connotation, we can assume he is saying it with a negative connotation. 'Forgetful of their sins' refers to the idea that as the scholars write commentaries on Yeats' work, and on others, they criticize the work as though they had forgotten their own mistakes, or sins. The next verse, "Old, learned, respectable bald heads", shows that even though Yeats is referring to the critics and scholars as being the 'bald heads', he is still showing them some respect. ...read more.

Middle

Notice that the rhythm of the first four verses had been a bit choppy, and this helps the flow of the last two to be a bit more distinct. The first stanza is comprised of six verses, the first four of which are eight syllables each, the fifth verse is six syllables and the last is nine. This struck me to be a bit irregular. Thus far through the poem, the speaker has remained omniscient and the tone has remained calm. In the second stanza, the speaker is still omniscient, however the tone along with the rhythm changes a great deal. Yeats not only says 'ALL' at the beginning of each verse, referring to the 'bald heads', but he even splits the first verse into two smaller verses: "All shuffle there; all cough in ink." Notice that the 'all' really affects the rhythm of the poem, and puts a lot of emphasis on the scholars. Again, like in the first stanza, Yeats has used repetition. Here, instead of having the second and fourth verses rhyme, it's the first and third. The most important two lines are the last two, which again rhyme with each other yet apart from the rest. The first 4 verses of this stanza all each have eight syllables, and the first was subdivided into two smaller verses, each of four syllables. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is saying that they translate or comment on something based on what the other scholars had commented about it or how the other scholars had translated it. 'Lord, what would they say' is asking just that; if the scholars could step back and look at the way they are mistranslating and misinterpreting the works, what would they say, how would they react. 'Did their Catullus walk that way' is asking if the individual scholar's interpretation was actually what the interpretation of Catullus was as a whole. Basically, here Yeats is asking the scholars if they actually agree with what they had written, and if their translation or commentary would not have been different had it not been influenced by the rest of the scholars. When one first reads this poem, it is hard to understand its meaning with out already knowing about Catullus and the situation that surrounded him. I found the poem to be rather meaningless and bland prior to researching Catullus. There was a point where I believed this poem was an allegory, referring to a deeper meaning. But now I don't really believe that it is an allegory so much as it is a metaphor. Catullus and his mistranslations and misinterpretations is a metaphor for the possible interpretations of Yeats' work by the scholars. All and all, this poem when from a seemingly bland poem into something rich and full of meaning. - 1 - ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level W.B. Yeats section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level W.B. Yeats essays

  1. Poetry Analysis of W. H. Auden's "In Memory of W. B. Yeats"

    First of all, I believe that poetry is not merely written as a form of literature that is "sung, chanted, spoken, or written according to some patterns of recurrence" (Baldick 172).

  2. Examine three poems by Auden and Yeats and compare how they present the struggle ...

    Metaphors are employed too in Yeats' poem too. The "stone" is a symbol of consistency, as it does not move from its position on the bottom of the stream. Yeats expresses the heart in a transformation, becoming consistent like the stone.

  1. How effective is W.B Yeats in cautioning the modern reader on the melancholic, the ...

    By using this phrase, I think that Yeats is trying to tell us that fine woman are born possessing everything, but choose to destroy themselves through their own actions. This phrase has a connection with the other poem "Second Coming," as here we see that women choose to destroy themselves

  2. Leda and the Swan Commentary.

    "helpless," (4) "terrified," (5) "vague," (5) and loosening" (6). The diction in "Leda and the Swan" increases the sensory impact of the poem.

  1. Love is a common theme in poetry and it has been written about for ...

    There is a very strong theme of love and wanting in the poem yet the poem ends on quite a negative tone, "In sleep a king, but, waking no such matter." There is definitely an annoyance portrayed by the writer.

  2. Language and Literature Assignment. Analyse 'The Stolen Child' By W.B Yeats.

    This creates a very positive image for the child as it reflects that the island would be able to provide him with food, shelter and comfort. A far cry from the 'weeping world' he currently inhabits. A world where poverty and deprivation are most likely to be the main factors of its sorrow.

  1. In 1936 Yeats wrote, "I too have tried to be modern". How does his ...

    (Smith, p.98). This can only be avoided if the soul reverts to its original activity, singing (Malins and Purkis, p.104) and therefore it must learn how to sing by "studying/Monuments of its own magnificence"(13-14). For this it is necessary to travel "to the holy city of Byzantium."(16)

  2. Discuss with reference to at least three poems, Yeats' treatment of Irish Concerns.

    cause of literary nationalism as it discusses the Irish rebels who fought for Catholic emancipation. "For this that all that blood was shed / For this Edward Fitzgerald died / And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone / All that delirium of the brave?"

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work