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The Circus Animals' Desertion

The Circus Animals' Desertion


by William Butler Yeats

The Circus Animals' Desertion Exploration Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

I sought a theme and sought for it in vain,

I sought it daily for six weeks or so. (1.1-2)

Yup, he's on a quest all right. Can you remember the last time you tried and failed to do something for six weeks straight? That's some serious dedication. He must be insanely frustrated.

Quote #2

My circus animals were all on show,

Those stilted boys, that burnished chariot,

Lion and woman and the Lord knows what. (1.6-8)

Yeats had a large cast of characters in his early works. From mythological figures to "woman" of all kinds and forms. And by the time he writes this particular poem, they've started to seem a little… freakish, like his own personal circus sideshow.

Quote #3

And this brought forth a dream and soon enough

This dream itself had all my thought and love. (2.15-16)

At this point, our speaker seems to be tossed around by his imaginary characters instead of controlling them himself. It's like having the robots come to life: once they're up and moving, it's hard to predict or control what they'll do. Yikes.

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