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This paradox expresses Yeats’ inner turmoil between his personal opinions of the man, verse his acknowledgment of his patriotic and heroic actions for Ireland.
Despite beauty of the “brilliant creatures”, age and sorrow no longer allows him to be delighted, shown through “all’s changed since…”, evoking a sense of disappointment.
The transition symbol of the setting of the “Autumn beauty” connotes not only a time of seasonal change but also the decline of life, qualified further through ‘dry,’ enforcing the notion of barren sexuality, thus resonating with the universal human obsession with age and youth.
The inner conflict of the persona is further exemplified through his conscious counting of “nine and fifty swans”, expressing his isolation, with the odd figure symbolizing one swan will always be without partner.
Alternatively, the swans have choice of “passion or conquest”, a prerogative of youth, giving their unchanging state despite the passing of nineteen autumns.
” Yeats’ poetry dwells on a convergence of opposites, engaging with the universal concerns of beauty and conflict and thus resonates with readers regardless of time and background.
This is portrayed through the poems The Wild Swans at Coole and The Second Coming.
It is through this treatment of conflict that supplies audiences with the ability to individualise the reading and hence engage a broad range of audiences despite their unique contexts throughout time.
Easter 1916 not only gives insight into the obvious physical conflicts between individuals but also focuses on the inner conflicts of the rebels, and further Yeats’ own underlying inner conflicts.
The former retains its universality with a contrast between the existential turmoil of humanity and the beauty of the natural world whilst the latter demonstrates an elimination of beauty through conflict.
Consequently, the binary opposites manifested in Yeats’ poetry imposes on readers the ability to extrapolate from this ambiguity their own interpretation of meaning upon the grounds of modernity.