No Second Troy by William Yeats delivers on the poet’s admiration for Maude Gonne through cultural, political, and social aspects of her role at the time of independence from Great Britain. The poem attributes the mixing of personal obsessions with that of power in contemporary events, as well as remembrance of the mythical world in timeless fashion. It also expresses the author’s political views and opinions to the country’s developments. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by Yeats is a poem by the author, which expresses his personal feelings for the beloved. The three parts responsible for the delivery of the message include a wish, an offer, and the request within the poem’s development. He also discusses the financial aspects of his mainstay, with a view of pleasing his beloved. Comparison of Maud Gonne to Helen in No Second Troy transgresses all the stereotypes of femininity as compared to a shift in He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven as depicted by William Yeats.
Femininity arises in No Second Troy through comparison as evidenced by William Yeats’ simplification of women thoughts. Femininity required the strong willed character of women in pushing for equality and affirmative action towards the traditional gender roles and reservations. Yeats showed that he was conservative by simplifying the thoughts of women, hence belittling the femininity cause. On the other hand, he was attracted to intelligent, strong, powerful female figures like that of Maud Gonne. In comparison to Helen of Troy, it is attributed that she caused the war all by herself (Yeats, Allison, and Harrison 17). In this instance, transgressions against femininity are labeled through causes of divisions and injustices. Yeats also goes ahead and forgets the role she played in the country’s independence from Great Britain by claiming that she would teach ignorant men violent ways as well as hurling the streets against the greats (Yeats, Allison, and Harrington 12). It was a falsification of her abilities.
It was successful for William Yeats to beg for mercy in He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven but not in No Second Troy due to his dreams. The wish, offer, and request in the latter poem shows that Yeats identified with the weak nature and frailties depicted by the male gender (Shakespeare and Burrow 19). For example, his only dreams rest in ensuring that his beloved was in acceptance of his proposal but with clear notification of its volatile nature. He stated that his dreams were fragile just as the heavenly clothes. In comparison to Maud Gonne, Yeats knew that her personality and ability required substantial endearing apart from any words. That is why he decided to castigate her abilities. Instead, he should have recognized the important role she played, even if he admired her. He clearly showed that he was afraid of the heights she scaled.
Modernity influences the love poetry depiction due to the effect of gender roles in the society. Fletcher (11) argues that certain conventions have reservations of expressed romanticisms and love through poetry as opposed to failings on different gender roles. As depicted by Yeats, traditional ensembles on female roles were praised when compared to the modern settings, where the women have taken an upper hand in matching their male counterparts. At the time of the poet’s writing, majority of the women were consumed by fulfilling their roles within the family setups. Those who obliged for femininity were exceptional and mostly received condemnation alike. Thus, Yeats is able to equate Maud Gonne to Helen of troy, in a manner suggesting that she was indeed a troublemaker. According to Shakespeare and Burrow (18), modernism has helped change the love poetry, in that there is increased regard for appreciation and embodiment of love and women.
Conventions of love poetry point to a continuous trend of two-faced regards on issues of femininity. Elizabeth Cullingford states that the poem takes back what it gives with the other hand. It expresses acknowledgement of an exceptional woman, but her reserved freedom is denied in the case of political action. In addition, the frustration shows that the power is destructive it empowers the woman. Yeats does little to counter any of the claims as critiqued by the statement. Maud Gonne is revered foe her role within the political setup of the country and facilitating independence. However, her formative approach in the process faces retribution by Yeats as it is seen destructive (Fletcher 7). He states that her ability to cause political activism places the country in jeopardy, similar to Helen of Troy. His only appraisal is expressed in the admiration of her being, similar to his dreams of He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven.
Comparison of Maud Gonne to Helen in No Second Troy transgresses all the stereotypes of femininity as compared to a shift in He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven as depicted by William Yeats. Rather than empowering the woman to achieve even higher standards within the society, the poet expresses his fear of the acclaimed political will. The two poem show differential circumstances depicting the close association of conventional thinking as compared to modernity in love poetry.
Fletcher, Nancy. Yeats, Eliot, and apocalyptic poetry. Scholar Commons Journal, 2.1 (2008): 1-53. Print.
Shakespeare, William, and Colin Burrow. The Complete Sonnets and Poems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.
Yeats, W B, Jonathan Allison, and Glenn Harrington. William Butler Yeats. New York: Sterling Pub. Co, 2007. Print.
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