Everything you need to understand or teach The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats by William Butler Yeats.
In reality there is more than one character. The role of the shepherd occurs more than once, but each time, there is one- typically male who is viewed as
'the shepherd.' In the first poem, the shepherd is a specifically happy one. In the second poem, the shepherd is a sad man. Periodically, during multiple sections of the book, the shepherd as a literary figure comes up again. Often enough, he is in another guise. This is why there is the apparent contradiction that there is 'the shepherd' and that there are a number of different individual characters. If put together into a group there are over 10 shepherds who appear in Yeats poems.
The character of the shepherd is important for a few reasons. One of these is that his line of work was well known in Ireland. In this...