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Class Conflict

Symbol Analysis

Yeats was a conservative who valued order and tradition. Maud Gonne was a radical who grew out of the traditional Irish society he loved. He's like, "You're one of us! You should know better than to stir up all those commoners!" He uses images that serve to place her within a traditional heritage.

  • Line 3: The "ignorant men" he speaks of represent the uneducated commoners that Maud, an educated actress, tried to inspire with revolutionary fervor.
  • Line 4: "Little streets" and "great streets" is an example of metonymy. Think of the way the word "crown" stands for royalty, like how we say, "The English crown." The "little streets" stand for the lower classes, while the "great streets" stand for the wealthy and powerful. The image of throwing ("hurling") the little on the great represents how Maud tried to incite the powerless to rise against the powerful British.
  • Line 7: Although Maud Gonne was a radical, Yeats points out that she has a "noble" or highborn appearance. He compares her nobility to fire, using simile.

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