Critical Appreciation of The Second Coming
The Second Coming is a poem written by William Butler Yeats in 1919. The poem is widely considered to be one of the most influential works of modernist literature and its enigmatic imagery has been subject to a variety of interpretations. The poem speaks of a world in chaos and renewal, with an emphasis on the cyclical nature of time. The poem’s title and opening lines allude to the Second Coming of Jesus, but this interpretation is problematised throughout.
In The Second Coming, Yeats paints a bleak picture of the world he sees around him. The imagery evoked suggests destruction and tumult; gyres (or circles) are mentioned multiple times throughout the poem, suggesting both decay and renewal as well as movement between different ages or states. The ‘Second Coming’ itself promises to bring something new yet terrible – “a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi”. The powerlessness of individuals in the face of such an event is clear; they can only watch with dismay at “what rough beast, its hour come round at last”. It could be argued that this beast corresponds with human aggression or imperialism which had been unleashed upon Europe after World War I.
Alongside his description of chaos, Yeats also hints at possible renewal as an outcome. The cyclical nature of history is suggested through various metaphors such as “the falcon cannot hear the falconer” which describes how society has strayed from God’s guidance and how it must find its way back. The final line reads “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last/ Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.” This line brings together both destruction and hope in one phrase – although there will be pain involved in coming renewal, it remains something that should be welcomed as part of a larger cycle.
The poem is a complex poem that speaks to the tumultuous period after World War I while also addressing more universal themes such as cycles of time and renewal amidst chaos. It provides us with no clear answers but instead leaves us questioning our own place in history’s unfolding events and ultimately encourages hope for whatever may come next. The poem’s mix of apocalyptic language and the promise of a new dawn speaks to all of us, no matter when we read it. The Second Coming is sure to remain an important work in literature’s pantheon for many years to come.
The words “Things fall apart; The centre cannot hold” will forever be associated with The Second Coming as they effectively capture both the feelings of uncertainty and dread that so heavily permeated this period – as well as a glimmer of hope that comes with the knowledge that ultimately things can turn around if given time. The poem ends on an even more optimistic note, with Yeats urging us to “turning and turning in the widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer; / Things fall apart; The centre cannot hold; / Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, / The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned”. Here Yeats speaks of how despite chaos – which can be seen as a metaphor for disorder brought about by human actions – his faith in humanity, symbolized by the falcon “turning and turning” reminds us that there can still be beauty amidst even our darkest moments.
The poem The Second Coming stands out as an iconic work in modern literature due to its timelessness and relevance to this day. The poem captures many of the themes we experience in today’s society such as fear and uncertainty around the future, with Yeats’ prophetic vision of a “rough beast” coming to “slouch towards Bethlehem” painting a picture of something larger and more powerful than us. The poem is also often interpreted as an allegory for the rise of totalitarianism in Europe at the time and how it brought about a disruption in society that threatened to upend the established order. The poem can be seen as a warning sign to those who stand by idly while evil persists in our world.
The poem is also an examination into human nature; how despite chaotic events we hold on to hope, that some sort of transformation or second coming will bring renewal to the world we inhabit. The imagery used by Yeats helps convey this concept of renewal, with phrases such as “the falcon cannot hear the falconer” symbolizing a disconnect between humanity and something larger. The poem is filled with tension between order and chaos, hope and despair, good and evil – all building to create a powerful message about the importance of striving for renewal in our lives.
The poem also reflects Yeats’ belief that human beings have an innate capacity to strive for betterment despite chaotic circumstances. The poem serves as both a warning and an inspiration; it allows us to consider our current situations from a different perspective while also giving us strength to come together in times of difficulty. The Second Coming captures the feeling of anticipation we can feel when faced with darkness, reminding us that even the most chaotic circumstances can lead to renewal and a new dawn. The poem reminds us of our capacity for hope in times of despair, and ultimately serves as a reminder that even when chaos surrounds us, we have the power to create something beautiful from it. The poem is a timeless piece of literature that will continue to inspire both optimism and reflection for generations to come.
Yeats’ The Second Coming speaks directly to the chaos and uncertainty faced by many in our current society, emphasizing the importance of striving for renewal amidst difficult times. The poem encourages readers to take pause and reflect on their current situations, while also giving them hope for a better tomorrow. It echoes Yeats’ belief in humanity’s innate capacity for growth and progress in the darkest of times. The poem’s words are an urgent call to action: “The falcon cannot hear the falconer;/ Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…” The message is clear—we must act quickly to come together before it is too late.
The poem also speaks to our collective need for renewal and growth, reminding us that the world will only be better if we work together towards a brighter future. The timeless themes of hope, perseverance, and redemption encapsulated in Yeats’ writing give readers a sense of optimism amidst difficult times. The poetic imagery and lyrical language used in The Second Coming also evoke feelings of contemplation and introspection, encouraging readers to think deeply about themselves and the world around them. The poem’s themes of rebirth and renewal provide a powerful reminder of the potential each individual has to bring forth good in their communities.
The poem is often interpreted as a metaphor for societal change and transformation, with “the second coming” being used to represent a kind of renaissance or revival. The poem suggests that it is never too late for humanity to unite and work together towards a better future; no matter how bleak our current situation may be, there is always hope for progress. The idea of hope in The Second Coming serves to instill faith in readers during times of difficulty, ultimately inspiring them to take action against injustice and take steps towards creating an equitable society. The poem also serves as a call to action, pleading for global citizens to come together and collaborate for the betterment of humanity. The image of the beast coming out of chaos is a reminder that even in times of great turmoil, there can be hope if people choose to unite and stand up against what’s wrong. The poem embodies a message of unity and hope during difficult times, encouraging readers to strive towards creating positive change in the world. The poem resonates deeply with many people around the world, providing comfort and inspiration during difficult times.
The power of The Second Coming lies in its ability to inspire faith even during moments of darkness and despair. Its timeless message speaks to people all over the world, reminding us that no matter how bleak the circumstances may be, there is always hope for a better future. The Second Coming can inspire us to become the agents of change we want to see in the world, encouraging us to work together towards creating a better tomorrow. The poem serves as an important reminder of how powerful people can be when united by a common cause and motivated by a shared purpose. The Second Coming reminds us that hope never dies, even in times of great turmoil; if we choose to believe in it and act on it, anything is possible.