We talked today about W.B. Yeats’ late poem, ‘The Circus Animals’ Desertion’, and I gave you some questions to think about for next week’s class. We’ll discuss these further then, but you’re welcome to post some initial answers (or to post your answers here next week, after the class discussion). I’m also posting the questions here for those of you who missed the seminar today. If you have other things to say about this poem, or about Yeats’s other poems, please feel free to post those here too.
- What do the circus animals figure, or represent, here? What connotations do circus animals have? And what does this make the speaker of the poem?
- This poem is in ottava rima, an Italian form most often associated with epic poetry of great heroes. What is the effect of Yeats’ use of a metrical form associated with the epic hero here?
- How closely do you think we should associate this poem with Yeats himself? Why?
- Do you prefer the early Yeats of the Celtic Twilight, and such poems as ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ – or the late Yeats of ‘The Circus Animals’ Desertion’? Give reasons for your answers.