Study Guide

The Lake Isle of Innisfree Isolation

By William Butler Yeats


Isolation can be a pretty lonely affair, but not in "The Lake Isle of Innisfree." The speaker seems to really crave some solitude, and can you blame him? He's sick of the congested city, and the only company he's after is that of the bees, the beans, and the birds. We can relate, right? After all, why do you think people have vacation homes in isolated locations—the beach, the mountains, and, of course, lakes? They want to "get away from it all." Well, so does our speaker, but maybe not just for a week or two, maybe for good.

Questions About Isolation

  1. What do you think has caused the speaker to crave solitude so deeply? 
  2. Do you think, just because there are no humans in his fantasy, that the speaker is really alone? What else around him in Innisfree might keep him company? 
  3. Considering that he seems like a city kind of a guy, will the speaker be able to survive in the country? Why or why not? 
  4. Will isolation be good for the speaker? How do you think it will help or hurt him? 

Chew on This

Why bother going all the way to Innisfree? All this speaker has to do is retreat into his heart's deep core, and he'll be all by his lonesome. Just join a meditation class, dude.

Sure, the speaker wants solitude now, but he will eventually come crawling back to the city in search of a familiar human face. Everyone needs a buddy.