Why is the speaker in Sailing to Byzantium going to Byzantium?

Why does the speaker need to sail to Byzantium?

“Sailing to Byzantium” is a poem of old age. The elderly speaker feels his powers waning, his life force draining away, and so yearns to travel to a distant land for spiritual refreshment.

Why does poet want to go to Byzantium in the poem of Sailing to Byzantium?

The poet wants them to come out of the “holy fire” and to descend upon him with a hawk-like movement. He wants them to become the “singing masters of his soul,” and to purify his heart.

What does Byzantium represent in Sailing to Byzantium?

Byzantium is symbolic of a place that may resolve the eternal struggle between the limitations of the physical world and the aspirations of the immortal spirit. The golden bird is a timeless artifact like the poem “Byzantium” itself.

Why the poet is Sailing to Byzantium from Ireland?

Back at home, he thought the youth were too busy studying “monuments of its own magnificence,” (14) instead of learning from history or older generations. Since he could not learn anymore in Ireland, he traveled to Byzantium where he could learn about history through the old art and architecture of the city.

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What does a tattered coat stand for?

The words “a tattered coat upon a stick” suggest a scarecrow. The coat is worn out, and it will become more tattered as it hangs in a field in all kinds of weather.

What is bothering the Speaker at the beginning of Sailing to Byzantium and how does he solve this problem?


The speaker is an old man (as was Yeats when he wrote the poem), and he senses that his country no longer has a place for him. “That is no country for old men,” he proclaims (line 1). He can no longer engage in the physical pleasures of the young, which apparently occupy the dwellers of his country.

What does the poet want to become in the poem Byzantium?

It is a lyric poem with the rhyme scheme of AABBCDDC. The title of the poem, “Byzantium” refers to the place where the speaker or persona of the poem desires to go in order to be able to purify his soul and be immortal. He is in Byzantium now and whatever he is talking about happens in it.

How does the speaker seeks to rejuvenate himself throughout in Sailing to Byzantium by William Butler Yeats?

In these lines, the speaker is asserting that artistic creation can sidestep old age and death, and that the artistic creative process has the ability to rejuvenate old age by making one essentially immortal.

What is the theme of Byzantium?

Byzantium is a poem about the imagined spiritual and artistic rebirth of humanity, which involves the purging of spirits as midnight arrives and their final journey to enlightenment on dolphins across the sea. Much of the poem is symbolic. Organic decay and immortality versus eternal perfected art.

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What is the significance of Byzantium?

Byzantium was also important as a trading empire with the West, especially immediately after the fall of Rome. Byzantine pottery and metalwork was quite popular in Europe during the Middle Ages, and Byzantium was also important in the spice and silk trade with the East.

What does Byzantium signify in WB Yeats?

Yeats deliberately chose to use the oldest name of the city as a symbol of utopia and artistic excellence. For him, Byzantium represented a paradise of perfection, unspoilt by history of civilization.