In “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death,” W. B. Yeats grieves the death of Major Robert Gregory, son of Lady Gregory, by providing the narrator with an overwhelming sense of apathy toward life. The poem provides a variety of emotions that counter each other to produce a balance that is uniquely pessimistic. The first-person narrator, presumably the voice of Robert Gregory, allows the reader to connect more easily with the thoughts of Yeats. If the poem were written in the third person, the personal emotions would have been lost. Illustrating a death in the voice of the dead adds sorrow and truth to the work, as an outside narrator would seem more distant from the feelings involved.
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death In William Butler Yeats' poem, "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death," he focuses on man's inner nature. He touches on the many jumbled thoughts that must race through one's mind at the point when they realize that their death is inevitable. In this poem, these thoughts include the airman's believed destination after leaving Earth, his feelings about his enemies and his supporters, his memories of home, his personal reasons for being in the war and, finally, his view of how he has spent his life. Through telling the airman's possible final thoughts, Yeats shows that there is a great deal more to war than the political disputes between two opposing forces and that it causes men to question everything they have ever known and believed. At the beginning of the poem, Yeats offers the reader the airman's first believed inner thought.
Yeats’s poem, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, the author discusses the significance of identity while being in a state of emotional distortion on the meaning of “home”. The hypocrisy of war was explicitly stated in this poem, rebutting those who believe that war is nothing but a mere patriotic burst-out. Yeats’s subconscious realization of time passage is greatly emphasized in the music of the poem, for he “foresees his death”. The iambic tetrameter was Yeats’ tool in generating the sound of a throbbing heart, gasping for a few, counted moments to finish the poem. The poem starts off by “I know that I shall meet my fate” which employs a sense of resignation to fate – or death –, for it is the ultimate fate of all humanity.
He does this by installing a sense of guilt. "Romantic Ireland's dead and gone / Its with O'Leary in the grave", these lines repeated throughout the poem point out that the Nationalist cause is being forgotten because the leader is no longer there to enforce it. By doing this Yeats attempts to regain the impetus for Nationalism that once existed by making out that the cause O'Leary spent his life working for was fading away and would therefore make his efforts futile. The third stanza further reflects the idea that people need to rally behind the cause of literary nationalism as it discusses the Irish rebels who fought for Catholic emancipation. "For this that all that blood was shed / For this Edward Fitzgerald died / And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone / All that delirium of the brave?"
Yeats also shows us, from a soldier’s view point, how a soldier feels while defending a country he does not feel any loyalty to, and how a soldier views the community he is laying his life on the line to protect. It is apparent immediately in the beginning of the poem that this airman has a very bad attitude about the way this war is going. “I know that I shall meet my fate, Somewhere among the clouds above” (Yeats 154). The airman is saying that he knows, or senses, the fact that he will not make it out alive of this war. The reference made to “the clouds above” is simply reinforcing the fact that he is an airman in the war.
This is important, because of the meaning of the poem; contemplation of life and death, to most, would be extremely dramatic; yet, for this airman it seems as though he feels forlorn and unattached in reflection of his life and eventually, his death. Yeats skillfully uses rhyme, meter, and alliteration throughout the poem “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death”, which in the end adds depth and connection, leaving a lasting impression on the
W. B. Yeats’s poem ‘An Irish Airman Foresees his Death’ and Shakespeare’s poem ‘Come Away, Come Away, Death’ both deal with the theme of impending death, although by varying causes. While the poems employ similar figurative and sonic elements of language, their tone and style vary. Yeats’s poem is primarily a war poem that serves as an elegy for the Irish pilot Major Robert Gregory who died in WWI. As opposed to this Shakespeare’s poem is a lamenting love song sung by the character of Feste in Twelfth Night. Despite being different in setting, they both express an acceptance of death.
This all takes place while he is living in Ireland and sees these sad events happening all around him. In the essay he says, “It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars…” Swift makes this argument because he is a citizen of Ireland and Irish born. He is a father and an intellectual. He can see the suffering that is engulfing his homeland and he wants it to stop. He wants to help his people and does not care whom it affects, clearly showing a bias towards the Irish people.
During the war, he saw the worst of the battlefield and often wrote poetry to document his perspective on the war. In 1917, he was affected by an explosion and after he healed, he returned to service and died in battle in 1918. His biographical context is important to understand Owen’s point of view for this poem. Owen begins the poem with a depressing description of a man in a wheeled chair “waiting for dark”. The use of the word ‘dark’ gives connotations of death, implying that he’s waiting for his death to come.
Strange Meeting ‘Strange Meeting’ by Wilfred Owen is a poem about a soldier in war who makes contact with the spirit of a dead soldier. The poem begins with the relief of a soldier as he escapes the war; but then realizes where he was when he sees the dead soldier. The spirit tells him that joining war is simply a waste of your life. The poem describes the cruelty and harshness of war, and what it’s like to be in it. Owen’s main aim was to open up the truth about war and the horrific and gruesome reality of being a soldier, contradicting the propaganda illustrating soldiers as heroic, honorable, and proud.