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The Symbolism of Long Legged Fly An analysis of Yeats poetry In his poem Long Legged Fly William Butler Yeats examines the notion of human genius and its many aspects The apparent theme that Yeats attempts to show is that peacefulness is required in order for one to utilize their genius ability The title itself Long Legged Fly has a symbolic meaning It is a metaphor for a tranquil and clear state of mind which is a key ingredient to enhance genius The people who posses this ability have a power that extends above and beyond the ordinary They appear to hover in a separate world of their own in the same way that the fly glides effortlessly over water The poem is divided into three stanzas each presents a different example of human genius from history and contrasts the similarities and differences between them The first stanza talks about Julius Caesar a great political and military genius of who was responsible for the expansion of the early Roman empire However in his poem Yeats does not focus on Caesar as a warrior instead he introduces him as a thinker one whos tactical skills are not derived from his actions but from his own careful thought and intellect as his mind is fixed upon nothing a hand under his head Most importantly Yeats introduces the need for silence in order for a great thinker to achieve full potential for his wisdom Here he stresses to the reader to quiet the dog tether the pony to a distant post because these noisy disturbances may interfere with Caesars genius ability for like a long legged fly upon the stream his mind moves
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