Essay on Contrasting Yeats’ Second Coming and Shelley's Ozymandias

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Contrasting Yeats’ Second Coming and Shelley's Ozymandias William Butler Yeats specialized in the early Modernists style of literature. Coming just out of the Late Victorian age, Yeats used strong literary and historic elements in literary form to evoke his symbolic message in "The Second Coming." Through the use of his theme of the "new Apocalypse," (lecture notes on Early 20th Century Modernism) he imagined the world was coming into a state of unsurity from the post-WWI Modernist experience. The war left people in a state of chaos, and although the war was meant to bring people a sense of hope for no more wars in the future, it did far more damage then good, especially in people's minds. The time in the Modernist era was…show more content…
Possibly due to the war efforts in WWI, people saw the destruction and the lack of progression it brought the world; a "second coming" of the "rough beast…/slouching towards Bethlehem" (Yeats, Longman p. 2329, ll. 21-22), or in other words "slouching towards" religion. I think this because earlier in his stanza, Yeats speaks about "twenty centuries of stony sleep/ Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle" (Yeats, Longman p. 2329: ll. 19-20), which leads me to think of the two thousand years religion had a grip on people's lives, and then as the more Modern generation became more and more separated from religion by its "rocking cradle," the "rough beast" took hold of the people and took the place of religions dominancy in society. Now, people's ideas became separated from the Biblical interpretation of things, and instead took on a more personal outlook and interpretation of its own as to what the meaning of all these things (WWI) meant. Chaos then took place, and religion lost its stronghold for good. The "centre [could]not hold" the people in religion, the "rough beast" (chaos) became their dominant concern. This may be contrasted to Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "Ozymandias," continuing the theme of the loss of authority. The Sphinx figure of ancient Egypt is illustrated

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