The Second Coming By W. B. Yeats

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“The Second Coming” by W. B. Yeats, was written in 1919 following World War I and was to present the idea that he thought that the apocalypse as presented in the Book of Revelation from the Bible was about to begin. The poem does not mention the second coming of Christ but rather focuses on the coming of the antichrist, meaning Yeats could only see despair, hopelessness, and chaos in the world. These sentiments of Yeats and others are due to war damages, collapsing economies, and the coming of the Great Depression and the Irish civil war. The word choice, meter, persona, subject, and lack of mention of Christ all collectively contribute to reflecting Yeats’ sentiments in the poem. Several lines in the poem support this mentality of despair and chaos. “Turning and turning in the widening gyre” refers to the worsening state of society with the collapse of democratic governments and economies. (1) The second line, “The falcon cannot hear the falconer” means that any sense of hierarchy and authority has been lost. The best people don’t have the conviction to combat the growing evil and the worst, the sinners, are full of passionate intensity meaning the world is filled with those who wish to do evil. (7-8) These lines emphasize the corruption that the world is falling into. The selection of adjectives and nouns used in the poem carry a negative connotation reflecting the negatives thoughts of the state of the world. Yeats uses words such as “blood-dimmed,” “anarchy,”
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