Yeats's The Song of Wandering Aengus

Briana McCluskey
English 150
Wednesday 9 October 2013, 5 p.m. section

Plan: recite the entire poem, then give a short explanation of the Irish Myth about Aengus so the class has that background for understanding the similarities in the poem (especially since Yeats was very interested in Irish folklore and mythology), discussion questions/points of discussion will be on the board to prompt discussion.

Discussion Questions

(I will only write the questions, the bullet points are for me)

  1. How are the differences between the poem and the Irish myth significant?
  2. Is the poem actually about Aengus or the average Irish man?
  3. Transformations
  4. Repetition of apples/fruit (berry)? Why? Significance?

Folklore/ background information

Aengu or Aengus Og = god of youth/beauty/love

The story goes that Aengus falls in love with a young girl called Caer. He had only seen her in his dreams, but still becomes lovesick for her and determined to find her. After years of searching, he finally found her. However, Caer spent each year alternately as a swan or as a human girl. When Aengus found her, she was a swan amongst about 150 other women transformed into swans and he had to pick her out of the crowd in order to be allowed to wed her. He successfully picks his true love and then plunged into the water beside her and he too turned into a swan. Together they sang the most beautiful songs that put all who heard to sleep. After a year, Caer and Aengus turned from swans back to their original form.