byzantium essay - Carlos Caceres English R1A 1/26/09 A...

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Carlos Caceres English R1A 1/26/09 A Man’s Desire to Become More than Just a Man In William Butler Yeats’ “Sailing to Byzantium,” the speaker leaves his homeland and travels to the “holy city” of Byzantium. Immediately the question arises as to why he would take such a journey. When reading the poem as a whole, his motives become quite clear. The speaker travels to Byzantium in the hope of transcending into the timelessness of eternity, as he believes the mortal world is no longer sufficient for his continued existence. “Sailing to Byzantium” begins by stating that the country the speaker lives in is not for old men. This “country” is a metaphor for mortal life itself (1. 1). With the “young in one another’s arms” and the “birds in the trees…at their song,” the speaker’s world is one of excitement and energetic youth (1.1-3). At first, it seems like a wonderful world, but the speaker soon states why he can no longer be part of that world. The first stanza ends by stating the world is “caught” in its own youth, neglecting “monuments of
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This note was uploaded on 09/14/2009 for the course BIO biology taught by Professor Meighan during the Spring '09 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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byzantium essay - Carlos Caceres English R1A 1/26/09 A...

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