Maud Gonne, the poet’s beloved woman, a staunch Irish revolutionist, is not named, but she is the only talked personality in the poem No Second Troy by W.B.Yeats. The woman (‘her’), referred to in the very first line of the poem, is Maud Gonne. She is the only character, mentioned and treated in the poem. The poem is based on the poet’s assessment of Maud Gonne, the woman he loved intensely. In fact, the entire poem, no doubt short enough, is related to her nature and function as the poet’s close associate and zealous organiser of the Irish uprising against the British occupation in Ireland.
The theme of the poem includes the power of Maud Gonne to attract and draw people, as she did to the poet and the poor ignorant Irish masses. At the sametime, she was hard and full of frenzy in her approach and attitude. She turned down ruthlessly the poet’s proposal, just as she incited ignorant simple Irish men to violent and thoughtlessly frenzied activities.
The poet also refers to Maud Gonne’s specific qualities that made her always restless, full of zeal and fury. Her mind, inspired with a pure selfless dedication to the cause of her homeland, made her restless and violently operative. Her beauty was strangely allied to sternness and her nature indicated her idealistic loftiness, commanding individuality and strong personality. She had an extraordinary character that was not natural to her time, full of tension and confusion, rich with a hig spirit and heroism.
The poem, in fact, centres round Maud Gonne, the poet’s much beloved woman, her nature and temperament, her role and function in public life and private. Of course, as indicated already, the poet is nowhere found to blame her for any reason whatsoever. Even he is frank in his admission of her power to create, like the rare Greek beauty, Helen, another devastating fire to burn down another great city, like Troy, if she could have such one-
“Why, what could she have done, being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn.”
Also read; Explain the line “A terrible beauty is born” from Yeats’ poem “Easter 1916”