Comment on the opposition of art and life and youth and old age in Sailing to Byzantium

Comment on the opposition of art and life and youth and old age in 'Sailing to Byzantium'.

Comment on the opposition of art and life and youth and old age in 'Sailing to Byzantium'. Sailing to Byzantium by the Irish minstrel , W.B. Yeats (1865-1939), is basically about the difficulty of keeping one’s soul alive in a fragile, failing mortal body. The speaker, an old man, leaves behind the country of the youthful for a visionary hunt to Byzantium, the ancient megacity that was a major seat of early Christianity. There, he hopes to learn how to move past his mortality and come commodity more like an immortal work of art.

 The speaker introduces compendiums to a world that has no room in it for the senior. It's a world in which youthful suckers embrace under trees full of singing catcalls (who feel ignorant of their own mortality), the waters swarm with fish, and every living thing — whether mortal, fish, or raspberry — is born and also dies. Comment on the opposition of art and life and youth and old age in 'Sailing to Byzantium'. Everything in that country is so caught up in the moment that it can pay no attention to the effects that might outlast the meat.

Comment on the opposition of art and life and youth and old age in Sailing to Byzantium

 An old man in this world is nothing but a skinny, ratty old scarecrow, unless he can keep his soul alive, vital, and singing within his failing, worn out body. No bone can educate the soul to do this the person who wants to keep their soul alive has to figure it out through their own study. For this reason, the speaker has taken a passage across the ocean to the ancient holy megacity of Byzantium.

The speaker addresses Byzantium's long-dead wise men and saints, who are now caught up in the noble fire of God, which is like the beautiful golden tiling that decorates Intricate churches. He asks them to crop from this fire, whirling in gyrations like the bobbin of a spinning- wheel, and to educate his soul to sing. He wants them to burn up his mortal, fleshly heart, which is tethered to his failing body and can not sound or accept its own mortality, and to take him up into their everlasting world of art.

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 The opposition of art and life and youth and old age in 'Sailing to Byzantium'. When he is left his body before, the speaker says, he will not take up a mortal physical form again. Rather, he will be a beautiful piece of golden art, commodity that essence workers in ancient Greece might have made to hang in an emperor's bedroom. Or he will be a golden raspberry placed in a golden tree, where he, like the pundits, can educate people his eternal and unearthly wisdom — his transcendent understanding of the history, present, and future.

None of those terms represents an entirely desirable mode of existence; but the fifth term, which represents such a mode, amalgamates the positive elements and eliminates the negative elements of both nature and art, and effects, thus, a resolution of the whole, for now, the soul is present, as it is lodged in a "dying animal", as it would be in the body of the aged man; the soul now free to act its embodiment is now incorruptible and secure from all the ills of the esh. The parallel opposition of contraries constitutes a sharp demarcation: in the stanza, I, a mortal bird of nature amid natural trees sings a brief song of sensual joy in praise of mortal things, of 'what is past, or passing, or to come' and similarly, in stanza II a living thing is found to be an in animate article, a tattered coat upon a stick,' incapable of motion, speech, sense or knowledge, whereas in stanza III what had appeared to be inanimate article is found to possess a soul, and hence to be capable of all these.

As Cleanth Brooks points out, "The poem are often taken on variety of levels: because the transition from sensual art to intellectual art: because the poet's new and brilliant insight into the character of the Byzantine imagination; because the poet's coming to terms with age and death."

W.B. Yeats’ poem, ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ has been commented on several times by several critics. Giving his remarks on this poem, John Unterecker says, “The poem prepares the way for a whole group of comments on the passionate old man as a symbol for the tyranny of time.” About the possible literary sources of this poem, the other critic says, “The poem itself embodies Blake’s proposition that eternity is in love with the productions of time.” But Harold Bloom does not agree with him. As he “believes that the vision of this poem as well as its repudiation of nature is more Shelleyan than Blakean.”

Yeats presents several themes in this poem. First of all ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ presents the theme of spirituality. Here, the poet refers to a different kind of spirituality that does not center on the concept of asceticism. The opposition of art and life and youth and old age in 'Sailing to Byzantium'. The speaker is more concerned with the study of artworks that elevates the intellectual capacity of the soul. Thereafter, one can find themes of old age vs youth, culture, art, and eternity. This poem deals with the contrast between old age and youth. Youth, according to the poet, is a time of enjoyment of worldly pleasures. While old age is all about how one utilizes one’s wisdom for the betterment of the soul. Moreover, the poet talks about the dying culture of his time. Lastly, Yeats also talks about the role of classical art and its magnificence that can last for eternity.


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