Group Five presents: William Butler Yeats' "The Circus Animals' Desertion." Yeats welcomes you to his memories.
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The diction found
in the second stanza connotes feelings of despondency. The repetition
of "vain" (1, 12) emphasizes the bleak outlook held by Yeats
as a result of his writer's block. The use of words such as "battle"
(12), "embittered" (13), "old" (14), and "starved"
(16) have very strong negative connotations.
The poem then shifts
its focus to the "half-crazed" (19) Countess Cathleen, another
of the many circus animals on show. The understanding of her as Yeats'
poetic creation gives a greater understanding of the anxiety felt by Yeats
when writing "The Circus Animals Desertion".
The Countess Cathleen In Paradise
the heavy days are over;
in flaming founts of duty
the kiss of Mother Mary
the feet of angels seven
The Countess Cathleen apparently led a stressful and draining life. The first stanza refers to her "heavy days" that are over, as her body goes "underneath the grass and clover." Her death seems to be a relief from the difficult life she has lead, yet she looks back on her life with "coloured pride" of her accomplishments.
The "feet of angles seven" could represent The Countess Cathleen in heaven looking down yet seeing the feet of joyous "dancer glimmering" among the angels. She finally finds relief and joy in heaven where she herself is described as "Heaven" which all heaven and hell look upon with great respect and admiration "flame to flame and wing to wing". Her accomplishments on earth though draining and "heavy" are respected in both heaven and hell.
He clarifies that the object of his affection were the worlds of art and fantasy, "not those things that they were emblems of" (32). This statement has ideological ties, even if unintended, to the goal of Zen Buddhism to desymbolize the world.
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