'Crazy Jane Grown Old Looks At The Dancers' by William Butler Yeats
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I found that ivory image there
Dancing with her chosen youth,
But when he wound her coal-black hair
As though to strangle her, no scream
Or bodily movement did I dare,
Eyes under eyelids did so gleam;
Love is like the lion's tooth.
When She, and though some said she played
I said that she had danced heart's truth,
Drew a knife to strike him dead,
I could but leave him to his fate;
For no matter what is said
They had all that had their hate;
Love is like the lion's tooth.
Did he die or did she die?
Seemed to die or died they both?
God be with the times when I
Cared not a thraneen for what chanced
So that I had the limbs to try
Such a dance as there was danced -
Love is like the lion's tooth.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Crazy Jane Grown Old Looks At The Dancers by W.B Yeats: A Critical Analysis
Do you ever feel like you're the only one who sees the world for what it really is? Have you ever felt like you're the only one who truly understands the madness and beauty of life? That's how Crazy Jane, the protagonist of W.B Yeats' poem "Crazy Jane Grown Old Looks At The Dancers," feels. In this poem, Yeats explores the theme of aging, love, and the inevitable passage of time through the eyes of an unconventional character.
Overview of the Poem
"Crazy Jane Grown Old Looks At The Dancers" is a poem that consists of three stanzas, each with eight lines. The poem is written in the voice of Crazy Jane, a character that Yeats first introduced in his earlier works such as "Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop" and "Crazy Jane on God." In this poem, Jane is now old, and she's watching a group of young people dance. Through her observations, Yeats creates a contrast between youth and old age, innocence and experience, and the joy of living and the inevitability of death.
Analysis of the Poem
The poem starts with a description of the dancers, who are "young men and women" with "wild, wild eyes." They are dancing "in the heat of the sun" and their movements are "like the mating of flies." Yeats' use of imagery here is striking, as he compares the dancers to insects engaged in the act of procreation. The use of the word "wild" to describe their eyes suggests a sense of abandon and recklessness. The imagery used in this stanza is vivid and sensual, creating a sense of youthful energy and vitality.
However, Jane's view of the dancers is different. She sees them as "fools" who are "full of love and song." She recognizes that they are "innocent" and "pure," but at the same time, she also sees them as naive and foolish. Jane's perspective on youth and innocence is that they are fleeting and ultimately insignificant in the grand scheme of things. She sees the dancers' exuberance as a sign of their youthful ignorance, and she knows that they will eventually grow old, just like she has.
In the second stanza, Jane reflects on her own life and experiences. She says that she has "been a lover" and that she has "been a fool." She acknowledges that she has made mistakes and that she has experienced pain. Her experiences have made her wiser, but they have also made her cynical. She says that she knows "the touch of all fine things," but she also knows that they are fleeting.
The third stanza is the most poignant of the poem. Here, Jane reflects on her own mortality and the inevitability of death. She says that she is "old and ailing," and that her body is "half dead." She acknowledges that she has lived a long life, but now she is "weary of delight" and "worn out with shame." The use of the word "shame" here is interesting, as it suggests that Jane has regrets and that she is ashamed of some of the things she has done in her life.
The final lines of the poem are both beautiful and haunting. Jane says that she knows that she will "dance no more," and that she is "afraid of the dark." The use of the word "dark" here is significant, as it suggests that Jane is afraid of death and what lies beyond. The final line of the poem, "I hear the dancers dancing and I cannot dance," is a powerful and moving statement. It suggests that Jane is aware of her own limitations and that she has come to accept her own mortality.
Themes and Motifs
The poem explores several themes, including aging, love, and the passage of time. One of the main motifs in the poem is the contrast between youth and old age. The young dancers represent vitality, energy, and innocence, while Jane represents the inevitability of aging and the wisdom that comes with experience. Another important motif is the idea of dancing. Dancing represents joy, freedom, and the celebration of life. However, for Jane, dancing also represents the limitations of old age and the acceptance of one's own mortality.
"Crazy Jane Grown Old Looks At The Dancers" is a powerful and moving poem that explores the themes of aging, love, and the passage of time. Through the character of Crazy Jane, Yeats creates a contrast between youth and old age, innocence and experience, and the joy of living and the inevitability of death. The poem is a poignant reminder that life is fleeting and that we should cherish every moment we have.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Crazy Jane Grown Old Looks At The Dancers: A Masterpiece of William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet, playwright, and politician, is widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. His works are known for their lyrical beauty, mystical themes, and profound insights into the human condition. Among his many masterpieces, Crazy Jane Grown Old Looks At The Dancers stands out as a powerful and poignant meditation on the nature of love, aging, and the passage of time.
The poem, which was first published in 1933, is part of Yeats' collection of poems entitled "A Woman Young and Old." It tells the story of Crazy Jane, a character who appears in several of Yeats' works, as she reflects on her life and watches a group of young dancers perform. The poem is written in Yeats' characteristic style, with its rich imagery, musical language, and complex symbolism.
The poem begins with Crazy Jane's observation of the dancers, who are "young men and women" with "the light feet of the fawn." She watches them as they dance "in the soft light of the stars," and she is struck by their beauty and grace. However, as she watches them, she also becomes aware of her own aging body and the limitations that come with it. She says, "I have grown old and bitter, / But I keep her laughing all day long / Till the sweat drops from her face."
This opening stanza sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is a meditation on the nature of love and the passage of time. Crazy Jane, who is known for her unconventional views on love and sexuality, reflects on the fleeting nature of youth and beauty, and the inevitability of aging and death. She says, "All the dancers may be dead, / But our dancing will still go on."
This line is a powerful statement about the enduring nature of love and the human spirit. Despite the fact that the dancers will eventually die, their dancing will continue to inspire and uplift others. This idea is further developed in the second stanza, where Crazy Jane reflects on the nature of love and the human heart. She says, "Love has pitched his mansion in / The place of excrement; / For nothing can be sole or whole / That has not been rent."
This stanza is a powerful statement about the transformative power of love. Love, according to Yeats, has the power to transform even the most base and ugly aspects of human existence into something beautiful and transcendent. Love is not just a feeling, but a force that can change the world.
The third stanza of the poem is perhaps the most powerful and poignant. Here, Crazy Jane reflects on her own mortality and the inevitability of death. She says, "I am old, I am old, / And my heart is full of memories, / And the faces that stare from the wall / Are the faces of ghosts."
This stanza is a powerful statement about the human condition. We are all mortal, and our lives are marked by the passage of time and the inevitability of death. However, despite this, we are also capable of great love and beauty, and our lives can have a profound impact on others.
The final stanza of the poem is a powerful statement about the enduring nature of love and the human spirit. Crazy Jane says, "We must laugh and we must sing, / We are blest by everything, / Everything we look upon is blest."
This stanza is a powerful statement about the power of love and the human spirit. Despite the fact that we are mortal and our lives are marked by the passage of time, we are also capable of great love and beauty. Our lives can have a profound impact on others, and our love can endure long after we are gone.
In conclusion, Crazy Jane Grown Old Looks At The Dancers is a powerful and poignant meditation on the nature of love, aging, and the passage of time. It is a testament to Yeats' mastery of language and his ability to capture the complexities of the human condition. The poem is a powerful reminder that despite the fact that we are mortal and our lives are marked by the passage of time, we are also capable of great love and beauty. Our lives can have a profound impact on others, and our love can endure long after we are gone.
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