The Circus Animals Desertion Analysis

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The poem ‘The Circus Animals’ Desertion’ by W.B Yeats gives a voice to the deep frustrations of a struggling poet devoid of inspiration. I would strongly state however that his frustrations do not just extend to his inability to recreate the, ‘masterful imagery’ (Yeats 1939:31) of his previous works, but a frustration with the art of poetry itself. Through strong imagery and a range of other poetic devices this interpretation is made clear to the reader.

The apathy and frustration of Yeats is made immediately clear to the reader in the first two lines of the poem. Yeats was a perfectionist; with the form, structure and language of his works being diverse and varied. This striving perfection did come at a cost, In his poem, ‘All things can tempt me’ (Yeats:1916), he refers to his work as, ‘accustomed toil’(Yeats 1916:5), suggesting a long and laborious process, which is why the repetition of the word ‘sought’ in the first two lines is indicative of a lack of care for the poem. The scholar K.S Jochum comments that, ‘no poet has set before himself such higher ideals in perfection of his art’
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Just as animals feel entrapped by the circus, there is much evidence to suggest that Yeats was entrapped by his passion that of poetry. In his poem, ‘The Choice’ (Yeats 1933) he muses that, ‘The intellect of man is forced to choose perfection of the life, or of the work’(Yeats1933:1+2), which bearing in mind his constant seeking for higher ideals within his art form this is a clear indication that he is directly conveying a frustration with poetry. This notion is reinforced by the line, ‘Players and painted stage took all my love,’ (Yeats 1939: 22) which informs the reader of Yeats complete immersion in his
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