The poetry and plays of W.B Yeats often take subject matter from traditional folklore and myth. By incorporating into his work the stories of Celtic origins, Yeats managed to encapsulate the national character of his beloved Ireland. During his early years there was an ongoing literaly revival of interest in Irish legend and folklore.
Throughout his career, Yeats used writing as a tool to comment on Irish politics and to inform and educate people about Irish history and culture. Sometimes his statements are explicit political commentary, as in An Irish Airman Foresees his Death. In this one he adresses the hypocrisy of the British use of Irish soldiers in WWI. Moreover, poems like Easter 1916 and In Memory of Eva Gore Booth and Markiewitz address individuals connected to Irish Nationalism.
Yeats lived through a great period of change in Ireland, from the collapse of the Home Rule Bill, through to the Eastern Rising of 1916 and the partioning of the country. The experienced decades of turmoil in Ireland. He saw the Civil War and the division of the country. He imprinted all this on his poetry.
From an early age, W.B Yeats felt a connection to his national identity and Ireland. He thought that the British rule impacted negatively on Irish politics and life. For this reason, his work had been surpressed by the British rule. However, as he became more involved, his poems resembled political manifestos. He wrote noumerous works about Ireland’s involvement in WWI. A Meditation in Time of War, On a Political Prisoner and An Irish Airman Foresees His Death are some strong mentions.
Yeats’ belief was that art could serve a political function. Poems could both critisize and comment on political events, As a result, they could educate and inform the population. Moreover, the Poetry and plays of W.B Yeats devoted to mysticism led to the development of a philosophical system that emphasized the role of fate and historical determinism. He believed that history was determined by fate. Fate revealed its plan when human and divine interact. A tone of historically determined inevitability permeats his poems and the divine takes many forms in his work.