ISSN : 2288-5412(Online)
DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.14354/yjk.2003.19.91
A Paradox of the Fury in W. B. Yeats’s Poetry.
Yeats tried to dedicate his life for Daughter Sophia from his early rose poetry. Theimmortal rose is a symbol of Helen of Troy or Countess Cathleen who sacrificed herlife for rescuing her people’s souls. Yeats also waited for the time of the recovery ofSophia’s glory again. The decided time is coming to follow the theory of the Gyres inA Vision. After dominating the masculine gyre for 2000 years, the androcentric societywill disappear by returning to the feminine gyre. Yeats thought the new age would bedominated by Sophia who was not only feminine but androgynous. Yeats also calledthe new age a ‘rosy peace’ which is a symbol of ’Unity of Being’ and the immortalworld.
Yeats was eager to search for achieving ‘Unity of Being’ by uniting with Sophia.As he got older, he was a passionate old man who still indulged in Sophia. Yeatsbelieved in Sophia as a hidden and defeated god. But when decided time comes,Sophia will be recovered her glory. In “The second coming,” Sophia as an androgynousgod, is symbolized by the sphinx. Yeats often used to the sphinx image to explainSophia. Especially, the sphinx is identified with the Judge of the Last Judgement.
It is important to the symbol of Sphinx’s eyes; ‘a blank and pitiless as the sun.’The sun symbolizes God’s fury of the Last Judgement as well as the unchangeablesupernatural world. Sphinx’s eyes of the sun image are compared with the cat’s eyes ofthe moon. The moon is a symbol of the wheel of reincarnation and mortal world. In AVision, the moon has 28 aspects as a symbol of the wheel of reincarnation. Sophia has controlled the souls after death by following the rules of the moon’s 28 aspects. Yeatssymbolized Sophia as the Judge of all souls by portraying her as a ‘cook.’ On thecontrary, when the sphinx comes, there will be no more the moon’s changeable aspectsin the world.
Therefore, although the sphinx looks like an evil image, it is only a symbol ofSophia. Yeats always wanted to be Sophia’s sole priest. So he was a Christian Gnosticpriest just as W. Blake. In fact, he identified with Ribh who was his poetic hero aswell as the Christian Gnostic priest.
God’s fury and the rough sphinx image are paradoxical symbols of the God’s gloryand the age of the rosy peace. The sphinx’s ‘pitiless eye’ is connected with thehorseman’s ‘cold eye’ on his epitaph. The ‘cold eye’ is symbolized to achieve Yeats’sfinal poetic purpose, ‘Unity of Being.’ That is, the symbol suggested that Yeats wouldbe a Daimon after his death.