Yeats's life, a woman named Maud Gonne had significant impacts on his poetry writing as well as his political views. Yeats experienced marriage rejections from her over and over again, which resulted in a great contribution to Yeats's beautiful and sentimental poems. As being in a long-term submissive position in their relationship, Yeats's depiction of Gonne became more critical and rational overt time. In Yeats's late poems, instead of merely depicting Gonne's physical beauty, he emphasized more on revealing the negative side of her extreme beauty. The female figure in Yeats's poems, mostly Maud Gonne in a central way, is endowed with extraordinary beauty and dominated power not only in terms of relationship with the male but also in Irish political events. Due to her ambitious and forceful personality, she finally resorted to violence and became a violent political extremist. In this essay, I will analyze the image of Maud Gonne as being a dangerous beauty as well as a violent political fanatic, through a discussion of Yeats's two poems, "No Second Troy" and "A Prayer for my Daughter" as an evidence of his changing opinions of Gonne.
Yeats's discussion of Gonne's feminine beauty is an important source for us to learn about Gonne. In "No Second Troy," the poet engaged four rhetorical questions as a poetic technique to demonstrate Gonne's dangerous and threatening beauty exerted on Yeats. Yeats recalled his first glimpse of Gonne: "Her complexion was luminous, like that of apple-blossom through which the light falls, and I remember her standing that first day by a great heap of such blossoms in the window" (Jeffares, 120). At that time, he was 24 years old and had never realized how much pain and torture this "apple-blossom" would bring him. The poem starts with the first rhetorical question: "Why should I blame her that she filled my days/ With misery?" (1, Yeats), which establishes an emotional connection in between the author and the readers, so that the readers can sympathize with the speaker's grief caused by Gonne.