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The Two Trees by William Butler Yeats Review

“The Two Trees”

The poem under consideration is entitled “The Two Trees”, and its author is William Butler Yeats. There is no doubt that the poet dedicated this work to his beloved woman. However, besides the theme of love, there are many other motives in this poem that build a whole paradigm around the author’s idea. First of all, this poem brings an outstanding esthetic pleasure. On the other hand, it is interesting for analysis.

In his poem, the author uses many symbols in order to render his idea. The title of the poem “The Two Trees” is rather symbolic and helps to reveal the author’s motives. The title can be considered an allusion to the Christian images. According to the Holy Bible, there were two trees in the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It should be noted that this allusion aims to display love in Christian culture. In fact, the author represents the duality in the poem. The Tree of Knowledge brings two opposite powers, good and evil. Therefore, the symbolism of the poem is built around the antithesis. The author uses these instruments in order to emphasize the main theme of the poem. The right interpretation of stanzas gives the whole picture of the poem: the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil gives a choice to an individual. Thus, the author’s beloved stays on the boundary of two inceptions.

In the first stanza, the author says that the strength, beauty, and joy of his loving soul are growing inside so strongly that it affects his life and their love. He talks of his beloved as of a kind, loving and wonderful woman. The author says that he would look into her eyes endlessly. In this stanza, the author uses highly explicit lexical units such as “holy branches”, “merry light”, “flaming circle” in order to create a special contrast.

In the second stanza, the author is cautioning and begging his beloved not to be distracted or dissuaded by the people, critics, and society that surround her. Moreover, the author is afraid that she may start listening to them and forget about the strength of their love as well as about her own world. The author is afraid that everything that they have built together would die. The emotional tone in this stanza is opposite to that of the first stanza. Namely, here the author uses such words as “fatal image”, “demons”, “unkind”. They are evidence of the antithesis used in the poem. In fact, there are many Christian symbols in the poem, and the author presents his idea through figurative speech, “God slept in times of old”, “the ravens of unresting thought.” All these facts support the idea that the Christian culture was applied by the author in order to underline the main theme of the poem.

Therefore, taking into consideration the above-mentioned information, it can be concluded that the author’s loved one did not devote herself to him. That is why he is so upset about her distraction caused by the outer factors. Thus, this points to the fact that the author fears to lose his love, even if it is undivided love.

The rhyme scheme of the poem “The Two Trees” is characterized by the line which is repeated in each stanza. In fact, such structure of the poem reinforces the main theme of the poem. It should be mentioned that the first line of the first stanza sounds different compared to the last line of each stanza.

In conclusion, the poem is built around the theme of love. However, the whole picture of the poem gives the evidence to conclude that the author’s beloved devotes more time to some other things, and this distraction makes him so upset that he cannot restrain his emotions. The lack of love experienced by the author is expressed in his poem. Another point is that the author uses many symbols that make his poem more explicit. Although it is hard to understand some points of this poem after the first reading due to the diversity of stylistic devices used, this does not make it less interesting and pleasant.

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