Is Yeats’ “Remorse for Intemperate Speech” a Contemporary Irish Writing?

Each country is characterized by the presence of characteristics that relate to all spheres of life. So, each region, regardless of size and population, has its own contemporary literary works. Their primary function is to provide an understanding of the peculiarities of the country and its people, its history, and public sentiment. Thus, this scientific paper aims to review a poem by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats entitled “Remorse for Intemperate Speech.” The last five lines of the poem were of particular interest for analysis, which are argued to be applied to contemporary Irish writing.

First of all, it is necessary to gain an understanding of what contemporary Irish writing is. The basis of literary works of Ireland were mainly historical events that took place in the country (Murphy and MacKillop 3). Hence, there are many mentions of battles and attacks in it, which to this day cause strong feelings and emotions among residents. A significant contribution was made by the English expression, traces of which can be traced even hundreds of years after its completion. All these factors are present in modern Irish literature, which is saturated with such negative emotions as anger and hatred. In some cases, this fact can even reach fanaticism, which causes some concern and causes the need for limitation.

A unique feature of modern Irish literature is the ability to convey historical tasks and events through the author’s critical thinking. At the same time, it is not a single author’s opinion but those thoughts that support the views of the author (Harrington 7). Thus, the poem Yeats was a representation of the opinions of many other residents who have a strong love for their country. This work can be correlated with contemporary literature as it conveys the emotional experiences of the Ireland people and the torments that they carry from generation to generation.

It is noted that modern Irish literature does not include many works of realism, which are almost absent in this area. Despite discussing actual events, literary works do not directly affect them and focus more on what people and the authors experience. This is what makes the poem an excellent example of modern Irish literature. The last stanza of the literary work under investigation causes quite mixed feelings, showing both commitments to the motherland and rage associated with events covering the history of Ireland.

In addition, the aspect that distinguishes the work of Yeats from the rest of the works of modern Irish writing is the ability to distance oneself from political statements while clearly implying them. Moreover, the poem focuses on the commitment of the country and the preservation of cultural heritage. On the other hand, the last lines of the poem by Yeats may cause in some individuals a feeling of prominent nationalism and hostility to other countries. Furthermore, there is a feeling that the author emphasizes that this is influenced by the burden which carries the Irish people and the memory of what happened to the country over the years.

Thus, it can be stated that “Remorse for Intemperate Speech” becomes a kind of guide and influences the spread of nationalist views. On the other hand, such an opinion can be justified by the desire to stand up for Ireland (Yeats 19). However, such sentiments only have a detrimental effect on the country’s economy and form views that can only slow down its development and successful separation from associations with other countries, which Yeats stands for. The author shows that negative emotions have become the product of ancestors in the lines “great hatred, little room/ maimed us at the start” (Gould 370). Such concern for the country is also characteristic of modern Irish literature.

Moreover, the poem Yeats aroused interest because, despite some fanaticism and extremism, it showed admiration and encouragement for the perseverance and perseverance of people who survived the events that took place in the country. The poem notes that people have found ways to vent their anger, but the author himself feels the need for justice for his country. His heart yearns for justice for Ireland and hopes for a better future for his motherland, where he was “carried from mother’s womb with fanatic heart” (Gould 370). It can be said that the last lines emphasize the extreme patriotism of the author, which, due to hatred, can turn into nationalism.

The Yeats poem titled “Remorse for Intemperate Speech” is overflowing with a sense of anger and hatred that can amaze the reader. Based on the previously provided information, this research paper relates to contemporary Irish literature, as it raises the importance of historical events in the country. More precisely, the poem conveys the feeling that the population of the region experiences even after passing many years and cannot let go. Especially strongly, the Irish feel a sense of not getting justice and the need for the right actions in relation to their country. Based on the above, it can be concluded that the poem by William Butler Yeats entitled “Remorse for Intemperate Speech” can represent contemporary Irish writing.

Works Cited

Gould, Warwick. Yeats’s Poems. Springer, 2017.

Harrington, John P. Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama (Norton Critical Editions). W. W. Norton & Company, 2009.

Murphy, Maureen O’Rourke and James MacKillop. An Irish Literature Reader: Poetry, Prose, Darma, Second Edition (Irish Studies). Syracuse University Press, 2006.

Yeats, William Butler. Yeats’s Poetry, Drama, and Prose (Norton Critical Editions). W. W. Norton & Company, 2000.

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PapersGeeks. 2023. "Is Yeats’ “Remorse for Intemperate Speech” a Contemporary Irish Writing?" April 29, 2023.


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