“The Second Coming” is one of W.B. Yeats’s most famous poems. Written in 1919 soon after the end of World War I, it describes a deeply mysterious and powerful alternative to the Christian idea of the Second Coming—Jesus’s prophesied return to the Earth as a savior announcing the Kingdom of Heaven.
- “The Second Coming” is about a rapidly changing world, altered forever by violence and chaos. The poem’s first line, which mentions a “widening gyre,” refers to Yeats’ belief (which he expanded on in a later book called A Vision ) that the world was created by a series of interlocking circles, spinning into each other and winding around each other to catalyze existence.
“The Second Coming” was intended by Yeats to describe the current historical moment (the poem appeared in 1921 ) in terms of these gyres. Yeats believed that the world was on the threshold of an apocalyptic revelation, as history reached the end of the outer gyre (to speak roughly) and began moving along the inner gyre.
What is the theme of the Second Coming poem?
A key theme of “The Second Coming,” then, is the way Yeats perceives war and disaster as bringing out the worst in humanity, empowering the wicked and bloodthirsty and disempowering good people. In “The Second Coming,” Yeats describes a moral dichotomy between good people (“the best”) and bad people (“the worst”).
What does the second coming symbolize?
The falcon described in “The Second Coming” is symbolic of the human race, specifically in modern times, as it has become disconnected from its roots. The falcon could also represent logic, and thus the falcon losing contact with the falconer suggests humanity abandoning logic.
Why was the Second Coming written?
William Butler Yeats wrote “The Second Coming” in 1919, soon after the end of World War I, known at the time as “The Great War” because it was the biggest war yet fought and “The War to End All Wars” because it was so horrific that its participants dearly hoped it would be the last war.
What does Spiritus Mundi mean in the Second Coming?
According to Yeats “Spiritus Mundi”, a Latin term that literally means, ‘world spirit’, is ‘a universal memory and a ‘muse’ of sorts that provides inspiration to the poet or writer’. Yeats used the term to describe the collective soul of the universe containing the memories of all time.
What does the rough beast symbolize in the Second Coming?
The poem is alluding to the Book of Revelation. The “rough beast” is the Anti-Christ. The scene is set for the final showdown and the Second Coming. “Turning and turning in the widening gyre” also alludes to the view of a cyclical nature of history expressed elsewhere by the poet.
What does gyre mean in the Second Coming?
In Yeats’s “The Second Coming,” “gyre” is used to represent the swirling, turning landscape of life itself. Gyres apper in many of Yeats’s poems. He uses it to represent the systems that make up life, the push-pulls between freedom and control that spin together to create existence.
What does the falconer symbolize in the Second Coming?
The falconer in “The Second Coming” is generally thought to represent Christ. The Christian historical epoch, or “gyre” as Yeats calls it, is drawing to a close. This is what Yeats means by “The falcon cannot hear the falconer.” The falconer also hints at Yeats’ fundamentally aristocratic understanding of politics.
How is the second coming a prophetic poem?
As the title of the poem suggests, Yeats poem is a prophetic poem that clearly shows Christ’s second return to the earth after the world has been engulfed in sin and sorrow. The writer uses imagery to create a sense of waiting and arouse the readers interest in what is the second coming.
How does the second coming reflect modernism?
In his major 20th century works, especially in his poem The Second Coming, Yeats expressed this view so as to reflect the disintegration of modern world after the World War I. The poem is considered a masterpiece of modernist poetry as far as it is thought to illustrate the way Yeats interpreted the cycle of history.
What does the blood-dimmed tide is loosed mean?
The blood–dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere. The ceremony of innocence is drowned; These three lines describe a situation of violence and terror through phrases like “anarchy,” “blood–dimmed tide,” and “innocence […] drowned.” (By the way, “mere” doesn’t mean “only” in this context; it means “total” or “pure.”)
Why does the Second Coming end with a question?
This monster, this “beast” that “Slouches towards Bethlehem” is unknowable and unpredictable, especially because we so deserve the consequences it comes to deliver. The poem ends with a question because we cannot know this monster or the punishments it will inflict upon us.
What is the mood of the Second Coming?
Answers can vary, but the mood of the poem is doom and destruction or a similar feeling. Words like “things fall apart,” “anarchy,” “blood-dimmed,” “darkness drops,” and “nightmare” help to convey a sense of violent destruction, doom, and hopelessness in the reader.
What happens when the speaker mentions the Second Coming?
Immediately after the speaker mentions it, he sees a beast emerging from the desert. The beast is emerging from “Spiritus Mundi” which is Latin for “the spirit of the world.” So the beast is emerging from the way we people are today. So this new vision is a horrible one.