Spiritual Triumph of the Self in W. B. Yeats’ “A Dialogue of Self and Soul”
Keywords:Spiritual, Self, Soul, Sword, Symbolism, Modernism
“A Dialogue of Self and Soul” is an autobiographical poem by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939). It is written in the form of a conversation. The poem displays a conflict between the desire to live and yearning to get liberated from the cycle of birth and death. It first appeared in the collection The Winding Stair and Other Poems in 1933. In it, the Self represents human being whereas the Soul stands for divinity. Self represents the desire to live on in spite of difficulties. On the other hand, Soul represents the desire to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death. This conversation between two personality-traits of Yeats draws comparisons with the poem, “Strange Meeting” by Wilfred Owen. In this poem Owen describes a soldier’s descent into Hell where he meets an enemy soldier. The dead soldier talks about the horrors of war and the ability to fathom that gruesome experience by only those who have been involved. However the dead soldier i.e. the man in Hell is the soldier’s double or his ‘other’. He is the reflection of the speaker himself. A man’s encounter with his double is represented here as well by W. B. Yeats.
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