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A Dream Of Death Analysis



Author: Poetry of William Butler Yeats Type: Poetry Views: 594

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I DREAMED that one had died in a strange place

Near no accustomed hand,

And they had nailed the boards above her face,

The peasants of that land,

Wondering to lay her in that solitude,

And raised above her mound

A cross they had made out of two bits of wood,

And planted cypress round;

And left her to the indifferent stars above

Until I carved these words:

i{She was more beautiful than thy first love,}

i{But now lies under boards.}










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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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"A Dream of Death," by William Butler Yeats, is a poem expressing his fear that he will lose a woman he loves in a place where she is not surrounded by the people she loves. It is a lyrical poem that expresses Yeats greatest fears. This poem has a rhyme scheme ABABCDCDEFEF. Lines 1, 3, and 11 each have 10 syllables, lines 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 all contain 6 syllables, and lines 5, 7, and 9 each have 11 syllables. This poem does not have a strict meter, but it does have a rhythm to it. The poem is written in first person from the point of view of Yeats. The poem is of a serious nature and told from the heart. Yeats describes in detail the pain he had experienced in this dream of her death, and you can see that this truly is his greatest fear.
Yeats begins his poem by introducing his dream to the reader. In the first line he refers to his love as one. At first glance the choice of language leads the reader to believe that the subject of his dream is not special, but after reading through the poem in its entirety, the reader is able to recognize that Yeats choice to use a more generic way to describe his love symbolizes the distance put between them caused by this dream. Yeats places stress on how this woman is alone. He states that she dies “Near no accustomed hand,” (2) playing out the fear of dying alone without people you love wishing you well.
Yeats also states that it is the “peasants” (4) that bury her, revealing he does not view them as worthy to be with her in her last moments, but that she deserves more than them and is more than them. Yeats loves this woman so much, he believes only himself is qualified to be with her and bury her body, leaving anyone else to do that job underqualified. This poem has a recurring thought to loneliness. The woman in this poem is being portrayed as completely alone in the world in a time when most would be surrounded by those they love. The way Yeats illustrates her funeral makes it out to be less solemn and more depressing. It is as though he feels that her death is not receiving the respect and reverence it deserves because she is with strangers. The line “A cross they had made out of two bits of wood” shows that he is regarding their work preparing her grave in a derivative way stating that they could never do it properly or do her justice. “Indifferent stars” (9) are also used to represent that she is alone. Stars are universal, the same are seen from any point in the world, yet Yeats feels that even the stars above her are no longer familiar and are uncaring to her passing.
The final two line of the poem contain an inscription Yeats has engraved upon her cross when he travels to the site of her grave. In Yeats view, by honouring her grave site with a loving inscription, he is able to do justice to her and allow her to rest in peace, knowing she is not alone and is in fact loved. This helps to resolve the poem, allowing for some level of peace to be achieved in knowing that she will be able to rest in peace. This poem deals with the loss of a loved one in an unfamiliar place and the conflicts one would face knowing that someone they love is alone in death.
“A Dream of Death”
(1) I dreamed that one had died in a strange place
(2) Near no accustomed hand,
(3) And they had nailed the boards above her face,
(4) The peasants of that land,
(5) Wondering to lay her in that solitude,
(6) And raised above her mound
(7) A cross they had made out of two bits of wood,
(8) And planted cypress round;
(9) And left her to the indifferent stars above
(10) Until I carved these words:
(11) i{She was more beautiful than thy first love,}
(12) i{But now lies under boards.}
N.E. Roberts

| Posted on 2014-03-20 | by a guest




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