W. B. Yeats – ‘The Fisherman’

‘The Fisherman’ shows centrally the simplicity of a life that W. B. Yeats wishes he had, the lifestyle presented by the fisherman is of a plain and straight forward nature. Links can be made to the Old Irish ways in which Yeats wishes had been repeated but through events such as the rising and war, those ideas have changed and now affect his new outlook on life. He feels the need of a simple way of life and so presents us of the image of a common fisherman in plain clothes with a structured desired routine – “ At dawn to cast his flies” the images presented are idyllic an central to the new interpretations that Yeats feels should have an impact on his own lifestyle and decisions.

      The title of this poem ‘The Fisherman’ shows and emphasis innocence of Yeats and the surroundings around him. He feels as though Ireland is not only changing but he is also. His attitudes are different and reflect a different persona but he is constantly trying to escape his ‘old ways’ and inhabit new ideas to a more simple way of life. The rhyme scheme consists of ABCD which is repeated showing the simplicity of the subject matter and how is it straight forward.

      Finally the poem shows a contrast in Yeats’ old persona to the wanting features of a simple man with a simple lifestyle. His self-doubt and bleakness is targeted on as though everything blends in to society and the changes that have occurred over time.


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