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Sunil Mirpuri

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Introduction

Sunil Mirpuri September 26, 2006 IB English HLII Commentary The Wild Swans at Coole "The Wild Swans at Coole" by W.B. Yeats, portrays the concept of time as the predominant theme through an illustrious comparison to swans. Yeats manages to depict his life sorrow for the time that has passed him by; nevertheless, he does so through a very elaborate yet depressing diction and through incisive images which mend the reader's mind into capturing Yeat's thoughts and emotions. Furthermore, the structure of "The Wild Swans at Coole", although simple and romantic, goes hand-in-hand with the images and the diction in expressing Yeat's depressing and melancholic tone towards his ageing life. Yeats' use of diction throughout "The Wild Swans at Coole" emphasizes his tone of melancholy and nostalgia towards the swans, which are a symbol of time. In the very first stanza of the poem, a description of the narrator's surroundings, the narrator instantly starts using words such as "autumn," "dry," and "still" to establish a dark atmosphere and a depressing tone. Yeats, by starting the poem with the latter, allows the reader to understand the immediate sorrow he is feeling and will feel throughout the poem. ...read more.

Middle

The reader clearly notices that Yeats is comparing his ageing to the marvelous swans which are "still" in time. This can be said as the narrator mentions that it has been nineteen autumns since his return to Coole and the first thing he notices are the graceful swans; which he then praises. Yeat's desire for immortality is also seen in the fourth stanza, "Their hearts have not grown old;/Passion or conquest, wander where they will,/Attend upon them still." Yet again, Yeats portrays the swans as a metaphor for his desire of an unending life. The narrator constantly throws phrases and images towards the reader so that he or she completely acknowledges Yeats depression caused by his desire to be immortal. Moreover, Yeats longing for eternity is expressed in a nostalgic tone when he writes, "Unwearied still, lover by lover,/...Their hearts have not grown old;/Passion or conquest, wander where they will." Other than the desire of being eternal, Yeats seems to be longing freedom, passion, beauty and love; all traits expressed by the swans in the poem. The swans inhabit a free world; they are sexual beings of expression. The reader can clearly notice that Yeats is not only longing for immorality, he is also nostalgic for the wildness each swan carries within. ...read more.

Conclusion

This structural device gives a perfect close to Yeats' "The Wild Swans at Coole" as it leaves the reader and narrator pondering over the depression of the poem. "The Wild Swans at Coole" embodies a great metaphor within itself which perfectly manages to portray Yeats' ideas and emotions towards the eternal. The stylistic devices used through Yeats' masterpiece obligate the reader to feel a strong sensation of depression and melancholy. The entire poem serves as a metaphor which uses the swan as its premise in order to express Yeats' emotions. Nonetheless, it is through the poem's diction, imagery and structure that W.B. Yeats is able to reveal his utmost yearning in life: to be motionless in time, eternal forever. Outline Thesis: Furthermore, the structure of "The Wild Swans at Coole", although simple and romantic, goes hand-in-hand with the images and the diction in expressing Yeat's depressing and melancholic tone towards his ageing life. Diction * Yeats' use of diction throughout "The Wild Swans at Coole" emphasizes his tone of melancholy and nostalgia towards the swans, which are a symbol of time. * "autumn," "dry," and "still" o dark atmosphere and depressing tone * motif - "Still" & "autumn" o "Unwearied still, lover by lover,/They paddle in the cold." o "But now they drift on the still water,/Mysterious, beautiful. ...read more.

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