Even if Yeats passed mostly of his life in England, he has always considered himself as an Irishman. For this reason many of his works are centered on Irish folklore and history.(we remember “Easter 1916” a poem written to celebrate the Irish rebellion). In particular we can distinguish his career into three periods: in the early period he has a romantic approach with the surrounding world, he mixed symbols and elements of Irish folklore. In the middle period he begins to grow up and to be more modern and flexible, symbols leave the place to universal myths. In the later period he creates his major work “ A vision” where describes his whole philosophy.
It consists in a tragic vision of history: it lasts about 2000 years where civilization passes through a first stage of bestial floor to the next of intellectual, aesthetic an spiritual stage. At the end of the cycle it fell down to an apocalyptic anarchy and finishes to rise again. Every phase of civilization corresponds to one of the 28 spokes of a Great Wheel, a symbolic figure used by the poet to explain his philosophical system. But this wheel moves like a spiral becoming the bigger and most representative figure of his vision :the gyre. it is a geometric figure which begins at a fixed point and grows wider and wider, until it reaches its maximum. Usually Yeats deals with a double gyre: there are two vortices in which the first apex is at the centre of the second one, in the way that the movement is continuous. This cycle corresponds to the new order followed by our mind and the flow of the history: events are strictly intersected as a chain. The use of the symbol is very important because it becomes a theme in itself.