Please comment critically on literary terms in "The Lake Isle of Innisfree."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Your original question asked more than one question, which is against enotes regulations, so I have had to edit it to focus on just one poem. Please remember that you are not allowed to ask multiple questions in future.

This great lyric poem contains many examples of literary terms. Let us remember that it concerns the decisive and yet at the same time dreamlike resolution of the narrator to leave his urban home and go to the lake island of Innisfree. There, he plans, he will be able to live by himself in Nature. He anticipates greatly the beauty of the nature of the island and the peace he will experience there. He has decided to go because in his heart he constantly hears the sound of the lake water lapping along the shoreline.

Perhaps most striking is the implied metaphor in "peace comes dropping slow." Peace is compared to something like the honey dropping down slowly off the spoon back into the jar. You might also want to consider the massive contrast that is created between the speaker's present, urban location and the nature that he is fantasising about in the penultimate line, which refers to the speaker's current setting:

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart's core.

The visible symbol of the lake isle and the kind of life that the speaker is dreaming about pursuing is thus attractively contrasted with the "pavements grey" of the city where the speaker is now--a place devoid of colour and joy.

Finally, re-read the second stanza and think about the examples of alliteration and assonance that help to create the verbal music of the poem. Assonance is present in words such as "slow" and "grow" and "midnight," "linnet," "glimmer," and "wings" and the alliterative s, p, d n and m sounds help to create this impact.

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