Summary: William Butler Yeats As a Modern Poet

Categories: ModernismSymbolism

The Horrors of World War I destroyed the illusion that acting virtuously brought about good. Modernist authors felt betrayed by the war. What they were taught to believe brought no good into their lives so they turned to themselves to discover the answers.Modernists turned away from religion. William Butler Yeats decided to discover answers from occultism and mysticism. He shows this in the second coming.

“The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out”

“When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi”

”And what rough beast, it's hour to come”

”Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born”

Spiritus Mundi literally meaning ‘Spirit of the world’.

Yeats seemed to believe that another spiritual realm existed.

“turning and turning in the widening gyre”

“things fall apart and the center cannot hold”

The modern era was the time of chaos and disorder so modernists wrote about their anger on the effects of World War I.

Free verse is one of the main features of modernism.

Get quality help now
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Modernism

star star star star 5 (339)

“ KarrieWrites did such a phenomenal job on this assignment! He completed it prior to its deadline and was thorough and informative. ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

It meant breaking away from traditional forms of writing and rejecting standard social ideas. Writers who used free verse had no concern of keeping proper meter and rhythm. Unlike other modernists who experimented with free verse, William Butler Yeats was a master of the traditional form.Modernists were all about using juxtapositions, irony, comparisons, and satire. We see this in a lot of Yeats poems like ’An airman foresees his death’

”I know that I shall meet my fate”

”A lonely impulse of delight”

Yeats was a master of symbolism, imagery, and allegory.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

He uses these figurative techniques to add to the complexity of the poem. Adding multiple meanings and interpretations. In the wild swans at Coole, the swans are a symbol of love, beauty, energy, or permanence. He also talks about twilight which could tell us the time of day or imply the speaker approaching the twilight of his time on Earth.Yeats poems have no complex poetic diction. He uses simple language. It becomes complex when we talk about the themes. The themes of chaos, disorder, pessimism, and loss of morals and faith.

Although William Butler Yeats didn't use Free verse in his poems and instead was a traditional writer, I believe he was a modern poet because he was excellent at writing about an age of war, and revolution coming. He makes it clear in his poems that he thought literature, religious faith, social organization, and daily life were becoming outdated in the new era of barbarianism.

Updated: Feb 17, 2024
Cite this page

Summary: William Butler Yeats As a Modern Poet. (2024, Feb 17). Retrieved from

Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment