Analysis of 'Sailing to Byzantium' by W.B. Yeats

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5 Questions

‘Sailing to Byzantium’ by W.B.Yeats was composed probably in ______, and published in Yeats’ collection of poems titled “The Tower” in 1928.

1927

Byzantium was an ancient Greek colony later named Constantinople, which is situated where ______, Turkey, now stands.

Istanbul

While the speaker does take an actual journey to Byzantium, the reader can interpret this journey as a ______ one, perhaps representing the journey of the artist.

metaphorical

In the poem, the speaker feels the country in which he resides is no place for the ______—it is only welcoming to the young and promising.

old

The speaker thus decides to travel to Byzantium, and later, to eternity, where age is not an issue, and he will be able to transcend his ______ life.

physical

Study Notes

Poem Background

  • W.B. Yeats' poem "Sailing to Byzantium" was composed in 1927 and published in 1928 in the collection "The Tower".

Byzantium

  • Byzantium was an ancient Greek colony later named Constantinople.
  • It is situated where Istanbul, Turkey, now stands.
  • To the speaker, Byzantium is a spiritual resort.

The Poem's Story

  • The poem tells the story of a man traveling to Byzantium.
  • The journey can be interpreted as a metaphorical one, representing the journey of the artist.
  • The speaker feels that their country is only welcoming to the young and promising.
  • The speaker decides to travel to Byzantium, and later, to eternity, where age is not an issue.

Themes

  • The poem explores the theme of age and its limitations.
  • The speaker seeks to transcend their physical life in eternity.

Explore the themes and symbolism present in the poem 'Sailing to Byzantium' by W.B. Yeats, which follows the journey of a man to the spiritual realm of Byzantium, interpreted as a metaphorical quest for immortality and artistic perfection.

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