An Analysis of the Poem the Choice by William Butler Yates and the Biblical Story of Esther and the Contradictions between the Ideals of Working Hard and Worshiping God and Helping Others

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In today's fast paced world - individuals often wonder how to exhibit God's greatness in everyday life. It is a constant inner debate whether working hard contrasts the Christian ideals of worshiping God and helping others. William Butler Yates's, The Choice, and the Biblical story of Esther examine this seeming contradiction. In truth, God has a plan for everybody, yet it is the responsibility of the individual to work toward that plan. God will use anybody he chooses to show his glory.

William Butler Yates poem talks about the choice between perfection of work versus the perfection of life. There does not seem to be any medium or walking the line. There are two options - black or white - whatever one may choose to be perfect at in life, takes away from the rest of life. There are two choices presented: to grow to know God or to try to be perfect in something else. By trying to be perfect at something else, God disappears. He is no longer a big enough part of life to have Him as a priority; therefore, there is no happy medium.

In the story of Esther, God uses Esther and Mordecai to do his work and spread His glory, even though neither one of them are spiritual giants. Esther ends up marrying a King, and, because of her position or power, is able to influence the King to save the Jews and bring justice to the unjust.

The two stories, seemingly so different, share many characteristics that show God's love and role in our life. I like the two stories because it addresses the question of what God wants us to do with the life given to us. It addresses how we are to live our life to the fullest, live with purpose, and thrive.

The Choice by William Butler Yates starts with the lines, "The intellect of man is forced to choose Perfection of life, or of the work." Perfection of the work is easy enough to understand - whatever focus an individual may focus on, is what will take away from the rest of life. Yet the perfection of life is up for interpretation. The perfection of the work leads to a "heavenly mansion" where one can "rage in the dark." By "perfection of the life" he probably means the acquisition of eternal life. Yet the perfection of the life may possibly mean enjoying the glory of life now, because without living life to the fullest now, life would just be full of misery - therefore failing at life. In truth life is full of nothing but work - especially when contrasting the question of life versus work. In reality, the individual that pursues the perfection of work is aiming at the perfection of life - no matter how hard it is to break away.

William Butler Yates is attempting to show the perception of individuals today versus the mindset required to make God a priority in life. It is possible to be successful in life and the work, yet it requires dedication. Being perfect in the life leads to the perfection of work. It's a perception. I believe if I focus on the goals I set for myself, and be the person I want to be that is the perfection of life. By achieving my goals and showing God in all I do - to me - is the perfection of the work. One goes sideways once they eliminate God from the list of priorities. It is easy to do an out of sight out of mind thing. The main focus has to be God then the perfection of life and work will come. One cannot be perfect at work without God's presence in his or her everyday life. It has to be a priority, not a second thought.

The story of Esther shows that God can use whoever he wants to carry out his plan - we just have to believe. Once Esther finds out about the plan to eliminate the Jews, God works on the Kings heart. Through Esther and Mordecai God shows his glory - even though they are not the spiritual giants.

I like the book of Esther because it relates to our world today. In the book of Esther God is hidden; there is no direct communication from him and his name is not mentioned - which parallels the days we live in. The hand of God is always working to save his people. It is so neat that we can take comfort in knowing he will take care of us. The book also shows that those who recognize divine providence receive great confidence and courage.

Both texts show the God can be a big part of our lives in we let Him. We have to trust that God does have a master plan. Yates says there is a choice - we do. If we make God a priority he can use us in ways we could never imagine. The perfection of the work and perfection of the life can go hand in hand - we have to let it.

The book of Esther shows that God will work in our life if we let him. Both stories show that we have to let God be a part of our life. If we do we can succeed in life. Which is what we are all working toward. We all want to be perfect in life, and its easy - just let God do his part.

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An Analysis of the Poem The Choice by William Butler Yates and the Biblical Story of Esther and the Contradictions Between the Ideals of Working Hard and Worshiping God and Helping Others. (2022, Dec 14). Retrieved February 22, 2024 , from

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