An Irish Airman Foresees His Death Poem Analysis

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The poem “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” is a poem in which the speaker of the piece, an Airman, foresees his death. In it, he lists a number of factors that weigh on his situation, including his death. He also rejects those factors, which he considers false. The speaker fights for his “impulse of delight” rather than a political motive or the possibility of a future life. Instead, he believes his life will have a greater meaning, as his death will balance his life.

“An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” uses a metric form of verse, called tetrameter. This meter is one of the most common forms of verse in English poetry. A tetrameter has four lines, whereas iambic tetrameter has four iambs per line. This means that the speaker can say anything he wants in this poem, no matter how unlikely.

“An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” was written at the height of the modernism literary movement. Modernism, in short, was the response to the rapid changes that society was undergoing at the end of the 19th century, especially the shift to urban industry. Modernists developed new literary forms to capture these transformations. This novel is no exception. This work of modernism was nominated for the Booker Prize, which recognizes it as one of its best works.

“An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” was published in 1919 in Yeats’ collection, The Wild Swans at Coole. Yeats wrote two other poems about the famous airman, Major Robert Gregory, as well as “Shepherd and Goatherd.” In this poem, the speaker explores his conflict of life and death and he decides to balance the two. The speaker also notes that he feels separated from his country and from the reasons most men go to war.

The poet makes a powerful point in “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death,” an admirable piece of literature aimed at Irish military servicemen. The speaker seems oblivious to his own death, does not fight for his life, and does not seek meaning or glory for his life. He does, however, pursue dangerous pleasure, which is a more laudable pursuit than a life filled with meaning and glory.

In “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death,” Yeats describes the dilemma of loyalty and duty in colonial life. In “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death,” Yeats seeks to put himself into Gregory’s mind and describe the conflict that he feels. The reader feels a sense of death and life in the poem’s title, but not much. Ultimately, the elegy ends up being a tragic piece for all involved.

“An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” is a powerful critique of war, and the patriotic fervor of those who support war. Indeed, Yeats suggests that war supporters are ignorant of the pain and suffering that soldiers go through. In this way, this poem breaks the tradition of war poetry and instead criticizes war itself. And what about its message? A strong criticism of war, no other poem has done it.

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