No second troy

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  • Publicado : 22 de enero de 2012
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William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish poet and playwright, published No Second Troy in 1916 in the collection Responsibilities and other Poems. This poem superimposes Greek mythology and Europeanculture. Yeats establishes a comparison between Helen of Troy and his own beloved Maud Gonne, a beautiful and revolutionary Irishwoman who wanted nothing less than to secure Ireland’s independence fromBritain in the first decades of the 20th century, in contrast with Yeat’s conservative political ideas. Although being rejected several times, she became the muse and inspiration of his poetry sincehe met her in 1889.
Helen is a legendary character from Homer’s Iliad, partly responsible for starting the Trojan War. With the comparison to Helen, Yeats is accusing Maud Gonne for being partiallyresponsible for the violence and destruction in revolutionary Ireland. According to No Second Troy, she “taught to ignorant men most violent ways” (l. 3). However, there is also a contrast. The lyricvoice is blaming but, at the same time, trying to forgive his beloved for filling his unhappiness: “Why should I blame her that she filled my days / With misery…” (l. 1-2), thus referring to the factthat Maud had always turned down Yeats’ proposals. Here, the convention of the Courtly Love Tradition runs parallel to the Romantic attitude of the poet.
Therefore, at this point, it is important toconsider the parallelism established: the poet is demolished by his muse, as well as Troy was by Helen. Gonne uses her “terrible beauty” to convince people less intelligent to do what Yeats considersto be unwise. In the end, his love of Ireland prevails over his own feelings, being able to condemn Maud through her critical comparison to Helen of Troy.
The poem is organized into four rhetoricalquestions from lines 1-5, 6-10, 11 and 12. With the opening statement of the poem, the speaker wonders “why” he should blame her for his unhappiness and for the manipulation of Irish commoners to...
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