Please give me the general meaning of "Sailing to Byzantium" by the poet W. B. Yeats.

I believe that the thesis of "Sailing to Byzantium" by William Butler Yeats is that it is not a good place for an old man.

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The speaker, presumably Yeats himself, is regretting that he is too old to make love! He does not, by any means, disapprove of those who still can and do make love -- "The young in one another's arms" -- although he cannot help thinking that they too -- members of "those dying generations -- are destined to grow old and die. Since he can no longer obtain pleasure and meaning in life from that kind of activity, he is trying to lose himself in his own branch of art, in poetry, as a solace and an escape. When he writes, "That is no country for old men," rather than "This is no country for old men," it indicates that he has already left that other country behind him and is already on his way to Byzantium, which is a metaphor for the world of art and artifice.

One of the most familiar forms of artwork we see in pictures of ancient Byzantium is its mosaics depicting holy men standing in lines, whom Yeats describes as sages standing in God's holy fire / As in the gold mosaic of a wall..." Most of the sages in these mosaics are depicted against a background of brilliant gold mosaic tiles, which to Yeats suggest "God's holy fire." Evidently the poetry Yeats intends to write, including "Sailing to Byzantium," are to be a form of religious worship.

It is possible to escape from worldly cares and lose one's self in artistic creation. This is what Yeats is actually doing and how he plans to spend the rest of eternity. He may be a genius and a great poet, but his feelings are not much different from those of most men when they grow old. They would like to have something to do with their time. They would like to forget about the fact that they will soon have to die. They would like to forget their weak and tired bodies and the wrinkled faces they have to look at in the mirror each morning. They would like to feel that they are still useful to the world and are not just taking up space. 

"Sailing to Byzantium" bears a strong resemblance to "Crossing the Bar" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, written when Tennyson was eighty years old and had only a few more years left to live. "Sailing to Byzantium" was written in 1926, when Yeats was sixty or sixty-one, entering a decade which has been described as "the youth of old age."

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What is the thesis of the poem "Sailing to Byzantium" by William Butler Yeats?

I believe that this question might be asking about a central theme to the poem rather than a thesis; however, I will try to answer based on the poem having a supposed thesis. A thesis is an argumentative statement, and it is possible to consider that the poem's opening sentence is its thesis statement.

That is no country for old men.

Readers do not know what country the speaker is referring to; however, we do know that the speaker's argument is that it is...

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not an ideal place for anybody who happens to be getting old. The narrator then provides some supporting evidence for the thesis. The country that he is speaking about is a place for the young and in love. People in this country live in the moment and do not think about things that might last for a very long time; therefore, the speaker tells readers what his solution to his age and country problem was. He sailed to Byzantium.

And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
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What is the thesis of the poem "Sailing to Byzantium" by William Butler Yeats?

"Sailing to Byzantium" by William Butler Yeats is a poem, not an argumentative essay. Although argumentative essays by their nature have theses, most poems do not have arguments per se nor do they exist primarily to advance a single thesis. Instead, poems tend to have themes, clusters of associated images, emotions, and ideas that are central to the reader's experience.

The main themes of the poem are the relationships of the soul to the body and youth to age. The narrator begins by suggesting that much of the world is more fit for the young than the old; the young are caught up in romance and the life of the senses and pay little attention to the profound wisdom that Yeats associates with both age and agelessness.

The poem concludes by suggesting that while age involves physical decline, this should not be an excuse for a concomitant mental decline, but instead the soul can continue in the path of wisdom and creation, and participate in eternal beauty. The goal of humanity is to become an immortal creative spirit, casting off imperfect mortal flesh. 

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