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

Sailing to Byzantium

Extracts from this document...


How does the poet convey his attitude towards life and death? The theme of Sailing to Byzantium deals with the nature of the human soul. The body is a physical element and the soul is a spiritual element. The conflict between the two aspects is shown through a description of a man, that no longer feels he has a place among the youthful exuberance and therefore takes upon a metaphorical journey in order to pursue his own vision of eternal life as well as his conception of paradise. The poet explores human conditions, his escape of the stream of time and into the eternity of art through the use of literary devices. The declamatory opening of the poem directly conveys the attitude of the poet towards life to the audience. It reaches out to the readers, "That is no country for old men."(1) The first sentence of the poem sets an austere picture, the rejection he feels in his country, a place that is not oriented towards the aged. The sentence uses "that" because it shows that the character in the poem has already left the city, and is sure of the city being unable to hold him any longer. ...read more.


The rhythmic phrasing of groups of three in the poem produces a rhythmic rise and fall, it corresponds well with the theme of life and death because it gives a strong emphasis to the ideology of the poet. The alteration of "Fish, flesh, or fowl" has the 'f's and the 's' as a descriptive and sensual combination. In the next line, the phrase "whatever is begotten, born and dies" reflects the poet's thought on the short period of youth, one of the great conflicts of life. The combination of the natural world and the natural cycle of life and death, is no different from the human cycle of life. In the last stanza, "Of what is past, or passing, or to come" again shows the clear idea the poet has on life, about the past, present and future. The auditory sensation of consonances in the poem found in lines ten through thirteen, examples such as "unless", "soul", "dress" etc (11.10-13) has a frequent use of "s" sounds from a whispering quality that represent the ascension song desired by a speaker. ...read more.


The cycle of endless life is commonly used in the poem, lines 1 and 2 of the poem "The young In one another's arms,", it describes a vivid image of the young, in lover's arms, the emphasis on the word "young" displays the mortal circle which would not be forever. In line 18, the character in the poem asks the sages to "perne in a gyre," the speaker distinguishes the cynical work of nature and the spiraling work of the spirit, the physical element and the spiritual element. The gyre is constantly moving in new directions. In conclusion, in the poem Sailing to Byzantium, the poem evinces the idea of life and death, either by art or by spiritual ascension, the speaker would attempt to defy the death mandated by the natural world. The nature of the human soul is deeply entangled and there would be no way to escape death, unless the character chooses to transform into a golden bird, mechanical and artificial. The use of literary techniques and devices have help to articulate the themes of the poem. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sailing to Byzantium Poem Analysis Resa Ng 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 International Baccalaureate Languages 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 International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. Sailing to Byzantium Poetry Analysis

    This is a reflection of the speaker and his consuming fear of what will or has already become of himself. His trepidation towards the aging process leads to a consuming fascination with the artificial, which he considers superior to the natural.

  2. Antigone Analysis - literary techniques

    the land to be followed and in doing this - places himself above all people. Creon especially values loyalty from the citizens of Thebes. Creon takes great pride in Haemon's loyalty after witnessing his son's devotion to his decision to kill Antigone.

  1. Compare how the Poet uses Poetic Devices and Imagery to create vivid Descriptions about ...

    Introverts are often careful, and they show common sense. They are more the "thinking" type. Extroverts, on the other hand, blurt out whatever pops into their head. Because extroverts do not "think" before they talk, they can say things unintentionally that may offend others.

  2. Lockwood(TM)s attitude to Wuthering Heights

    A way of thinking through the forbidden can be accomplished through dreams, which is what Bront´┐Ż tries to communicate to the reader in the third chapter of the novel. The first introduction that the reader has to Catherine Earnshaw is an introduction to the signature of a ghost when Lockwood has his troubling nightmares.

  1. Cat's Eye and Such a Long Journey

    Constant flashbacks remind her of the past, and how she overcame it. The marble of the cat's eye is used to represent change, as it was like a talisman that protected Elaine from her past hardships. Before, it was Cordelia who held the upper hand in their relationship, but as

  2. A Cycle of Change

    The second stanza is about how the artist is so used to this life of change and how deep inside a small part of him does yearn for permanence and roots but he's very afraid of this change and angry at himself for feeling the smallest need for this change.

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