Yeats The Easter Rebellion

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The Easter Rebellion was a six-day armed insurrection during Easter week in 1916 mounted by Irish republicans to end the British rule in Ireland. Easter 1916 was the first personal approached poem written by Yeats in response to the failed uprising of Irish nationalists. While he expressed concern about the violent rebellion against the British, he was angered at the execution of the Irish leaders, who he believe had sacrificed themselves for Irish independence. Easter 1916 was written with Yeats’ eloquent expression of his complex feelings of shock, romantic admiration, and a more realistic appraisal.

Yeats portrays admiration towards the republicans by acknowledging that they have a dream unlike the revolutionaries, shown in the first
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In Easter 1916, Yeats highly regards and recognises the Irish nationalists’ sacrifice to free Ireland. The juxtaposed words “shrill” and “sweet” suggests Yeats’ applause towards the republicans who were eager for Ireland’s freedom. “This man / kept a school” refers to Patrick Pearse, a central figure in the Easter Rebellion and Irish nationalism whom Yeats admired as he was the Irish rebellion leader that exhibited resilience through the war. “This other man… vainglorious lout” alludes to John MacBride who abused Maud Gonne during their marriage and ultimately left her, hence Yeats expresses his displeasure “most bitter wrong / To some… near my heart” towards MacBride as she was Yeats’ unrequited love. Nonetheless, Yeats named or “number him” in the poem because “He, too”, repeated twice, was a mark of power for the transformation the uprising caused, which “has been changed in his turn”. Yeats set aside doubts, asserting that the nationalists’ dream was known to the Irish through the plural word choice “We” and “To know they dreamed and are dead” thus it did not matter if the nationalists acted…show more content…
Yeats uses the metonymy “shrill voice” to allude Constance Markiewicz, whom Yeats disdained for her involvement in politics. Instead, he prefers her to avoid the public sphere and remain a young, beautiful woman. Yeats’ ambivalence is expressed through the use of “motley”. Motley signifies the quarter-coloured outfit of jesters and fools, thus alludes to the silliness of the Irish leaders and their followers. However, “green is worn” juxtaposes the silliness, as green is the national colour of Ireland, hence signifying the remembrance of Ireland’s rebirth through the painful revolution. Additionally, Yeats was disillusioned by the seriousness of his Irish contemporaries as their stubbornness (“stone”) caused innocent deaths because they were “Enchanted to a stone”. Also, this “stone” represent the British state, and hearts that have been turned into a stone that “trouble the living stream” of Irish life. The line “O when may it suffice?” expresses Yeats’ anger and almost pleading to God for the end of all suffering whilst questioning the “Heaven’s part” for the lost of
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