The Lake Isle of Innisfree Questions and Answers
by William Butler Yeats

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What is the meaning of the poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree"?

The speaker in the poem dreams of moving to a rural environment, ready to leave the roads and pavements of urban life. The speaker views nature as a form of escapism, fantasizing about the lake and animals of a place that is the opposite of where he currently is. 

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amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A brief summary of this poem is that the speaker is yearning for a place of escape.  His "happy place" as many people would call is in stark contrast to where he actually is...a street surrounded by gray pavement and hard silence in the city.

No, his place of escape is quiet but not silent.  There is a cabin, and images of soft, soothing water.  There will be "nine beans rows" in his garden and it is peaceful there.  The surroundings of his place of escape are natural and soothing...not manmade and harsh.  His place of escape does not cause stress like the city where he is in the last few lines of the poem.

Check out the link to more info on this poem here at Enotes.  Good Luck in your studies!



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Reuben Lindsey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This poem is about a man, overwhelmed with urban life, who dreams of going back to nature in order to find some peace.  The man will build a small cabin there (line 2) and grow some beans (line 4).  He shall live alone (line 6) and "shall have some peace there" (line 7).  The sounds and sights of nature (second stanza) will be a comfort to him in comparison to the harsh pavement of the city (third stanza).

This poem was written at the end of the 19th century, when cities were growing quickly and nature was being abandoned for progress.  The poem emphasizes the ability of nature to restore the human spirit.  The poet has not literally gone to Innisfree, however.  In the end, although he hears the "water lapping with low sounds by the/shore", he is actually standing "on the roadway."  The contrast always readers to better understand the importance of nature, because the speaker is imagining it with rich detail even though he is far away from it.

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robeverett | Student

more Thoreau for me - escapism and that beauty exists within, and within the simple things in a time where beauty is meant to come from the complex and the material.  it comes from the relationship of man and our real nature.  Nature has its ability to reveal and reflect mans real human nature and that inside all of us it is this imagined world that drives us.  The memory of a simpler more natural base give him the strength to get up and go now - it allows him brief respite from the dangers of a material world.  Perhaps 

sallyevanz | Student

it is about the myth of heaven and death, about transportation from chaos to peace, perfection and solitue. Its power comes from the repetition of very few words.