Video appunto: Yeats, Butler, William, Easter 1916
The patriotic poem Easter 1916, written by William Butler Yeats, does not fall into rhetoric since he writes in a way in which he clearly describes the reality of the facts, giving credit to the people who fought and died during the rising.
At the beginning of the poem, in the first stanza, the writer does not entirely agree with the patriots; in fact, besides telling the reader about the pleasantries that he exchanged with them in the streets, he also says that he previously made fun of their spirit of revolt, because he had some mixed feelings about it.
In the second stanza he makes a list of the people who took part in the revolt that he knew, so he can enhance their worth and remember them over time, sign that deep inside he believes that, in some way, what they were fighting for was important.
Then, in the third stanza, Yeats’s perspective starts to change. He compares the hearts of the rebels to a stone that troubles a stream of history; this means that they were fully dedicated to their purpose, they sticked to it. Speaking in this way, the poet confers them the respect and the admiration that they didn’t have at the beginning of the ode.
In the fourth and final stanza, it actually isn’t very clear whether Yeats is condemning the rebels’ actions or whether he is glorifying them. In fact, he wonders if their gesture was worth it or if, at the end, it wasn’t that necessary. However, he seems genuinely concerned about the sacrifice they have made and he truly believes that they ought to be remembered.