What do you think of the behavior of the man in "The Lake Isle of Innisfree"?

Expert Answers
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Opinion concerning the speaker of this poem is going to vary obviously depending on your own individual thoughts and ideas. Certainly I rather cynically have a nagging doubt in my mind whenever I read this poem because it repeatedly talks about future dreams rather than present action. The speaker spends so much of the poem idealising how wonderful his life is going to be on the lake isle, and very little talking about what practical steps he is actually taking now to make it happen. This makes me question how strongly he will act on his intentions. However, as I said, that is just my cynical response!

It is clear that the speaker feels a great affinity to nature. Even when surrounded by the "pavements grey" of the city he still continually hears the "lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore." The picture that he paints of the kind of life he will lead is idyllic in the extreme, a picture of man living in harmony with nature and living in isolation and peace. Certainly we can all appreciate his feelings of wanting to get away from it all, and the preciseness of his plans to have "nine bean poles" suggest that this is something that the speaker has thought long and hard about, but I wonder whether the speaker is somewhat naive in his thoughts of what his future life will look like. The "pavements grey" may turn out to have their own attractions, after all.