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The Second Coming Analysis



Author: Poetry of William Butler Yeats Type: Poetry Views: 10451





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;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of i{Spiritus Mundi}

Troubles my sight:somewhere in sands of the desert

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at laSt,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?










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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

See this website for a good analysis of the poem: x

| Posted on 2012-02-21 | by a guest


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I am have a great deal of trouble on the last few lines. Can anyone clear it up for me?

| Posted on 2011-08-19 | by a guest


.: :.

Tori Amos~ There is value in everybodys gift. No matter how hard to find or strange it is.

- x

| Posted on 2011-08-06 | by a guest


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I just want to thank everyone who commented on the poem. Your analysis has helped a lot. It has just made me confident to write an essay on the poem for my grade 11 english exam.

| Posted on 2011-08-04 | by a guest


.: :.

the rough beast...slouches towards Bethlehem to be born may represent the coming of \'Dajal\'

| Posted on 2011-07-10 | by a guest


.: :.

GREAT INTERPRETATIONS guys! thank u all very much! all that was very very helpful! :D

| Posted on 2011-06-08 | by a guest


.: :.

what you have all presented was helpefull,
so one may intreprate this poem as Yeats predected the chaos that will evade the world \" the calm before the storm \" i, e the WW1 and that by making use of the Christian symbole of \"The Coming Kingdom\" he alludes to the return of Jesus that will fight againt the mess that controlled the current world.
the beast he is talking about has been referred to as \" The Sphinx \" a mythical beast of Egypt with a head of a man and a body of a lion is indeed the Anti Christ that would recognize the choas in the world ans senses that it is now his time to appear , or to say to wake up from his \"stony sleep\" \" And what rough beast its hour come round at last \" , all in all , Yeats is Christian and was described as \"the invisible poet\" as he was influced by obscurity and mistery ( his use of symbols ) so he utilised in his Second Coming a multifiriousness of Christian symboles only to projrct his prediction , belief and philosophy.
for him there will be a second coming where Jesus will return to fight the Anti Christ that will endenger humanity.
honestly it is a simple interpretation that i have concluded after reading all the oter geusts interpretations .
thx

| Posted on 2011-04-10 | by a guest


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this poem is one of the important of yeats\'s career and in this poem the world is suffering and the everthing is getting out of control..the end has come so the beast is shown as the symbol of fear . so everybody is expecting hope and peace.

| Posted on 2011-04-09 | by a guest


.: :.

What I think is most interesting about this poem is that fact that its more specific sections can be applied to so many different things. One might ask, \"Is Yeats predicting WWII? Judgement day? Or is he simply referring to the out-of-control events involved in the Russian Revolution, as many scholars think is accurate?\" The poem\'s strict imagery functions to erase any ambiguity in principle that might have every existed, while completely establishing the poem as a work that can \"predict\" almost every event of the future. Essentially, the poem is ambiguous in hard facts, but unbending when it comes to the explanation and course of action that the event will take. The brilliance of this is that it forces us, as men, to take a broader look at this world we live in and to realize that there are so few human stories to be told. Our world is repetitive, truly a \"gyre\" that widens on occasion and falls in upon itself often.

| Posted on 2011-02-07 | by a guest


.: :.

Could it be that Yeats thought that inane Christian religion and the birth of the baby Jesus was the beginning of the chaos we see around us? That chaos is the natural state of things. That somewhere in the dessert, he fears, another monster (The Sphinx being the first and Jesus being the second one) is about to be born and who knows what trouble the next little bastard and his followers will cause the world.
Think of all the horrible wars and blood that has beens pilled by Christians over the centuries. Not that any other religions are any different. They to are unable to hold the center. Things fall apart. And what takes the place of a collapsed center may be just as rotten as what was holding the place together in the first [lace.

| Posted on 2011-01-25 | by a guest


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this poem is basically dealing with the second coming of good and evil.

| Posted on 2011-01-16 | by a guest


.: :.

PS:note that Yeats was from Ireland...In europe.PLEASE forget he had different experiences and was NOT an American,nor was he incredibly religious.
PLEASE?
Thank you.

| Posted on 2010-12-16 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem was written during WWII
lines 1-4 the world spinning out of control.
\"the blood dimmed tide is loosed\"-
representing thousands of deaths and/or slaughter
The ceremony of innocence is drowned-
Yeats\' aristocratic way of life
the best all lack conviction,while the worst are full of passionate intensity-
Don\'t really know,I think a referance to the previous line.
the second verse(got bored of this xD)-
A desperate cry for help.
Nothing about dragons(Or the present world![R-tards!])
this is about the end and a new begining,a bit like the second standsa of wounds by Longley.
Hope that(kind of) helped. : )

| Posted on 2010-12-16 | by a guest


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thiss poehm ihs talking of losing hope in the midst of a humunguss issue with everything that was goin ohn ihn the world it must have been senced to be the end of the world!

| Posted on 2010-10-27 | by a guest


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dnt knw who is persn wastin so much energy writin dis nonsense \"holy moly...\". I jst want 2 tel him/her dat Yeats\' poems r really g8 n he/she is makin a fun of him/herself by nt undestandin Yeats.

| Posted on 2010-10-15 | by a guest


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There is no \"correct\" analysis. Yeats is being intentionally ambiguous to allow different interpretations.

| Posted on 2010-09-27 | by a guest


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The beast is Satan or known in Revelation 12 as the Dragon that is to be slain. I know you\'ve heard this many a time before, but the end is near, and I just write for you to be warned to prepare, for the end of the world is soon. Yeats had it right back in 1919, and it is coming; something far worse than anything any one has ever seen before. Everyday, we grow further away from God, is another day, that we slouch further toward Bethlehem instead of Gomorrah...9142010

| Posted on 2010-09-14 | by a guest


.: :.

the poet give us images of darkness,blood.all this refear to the war .insted of water we have blood.
the water is a simple of purification,life. put in this poem the image is exactly the opposite.we see that innocence sacrifice in sake of evil.(values upside down)
instead of the second cominf of christ the poet see a vision of a beast.(indicate man himself become a beast)
with no pity in his eyes.
the prey bird eating the corps of the dead.
but even with all of this the poet leave us with som signs of hope.
in the image of (rocking cradle).
and by returning to faith,nature,love, God.
this chaos will end.and the world will witness another year of happiness.
sorry 4 the grammatical n spelling mistake.
hope this will help u.
REGARS.H.mj

| Posted on 2010-05-25 | by a guest


.: :.

this was really useful for understanding yeats poem. thanks.

| Posted on 2010-04-21 | by a guest


.: :.

Definitely Yeats is awesome, and whoever wrote that holy moly crap is a loser.

| Posted on 2010-03-02 | by a guest


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Moderator, would you PLEASE remove the log jibberish post?

| Posted on 2010-02-06 | by a guest


.: :.

The correct interpretation has already been posted, which, might I add, was excellently done.
Yeats always uses rich imagery!
However, I do not quite understand why there has to be preached about this?
A simple analysis was all that was required, and now you, dear Christian, have to go and make it personal?
You wrote:.: :.
"I don't know if Yeats was a Christian or not but what i do know is that there is going to be a Second Coming of Christ and whoever has not received Jesus as is Lord and Savior(Romans 10:9) will not be saved...saved from what you may ask, well saved from the beast(Sphinx). The Lord has been announcing his coming for years and the beast wants to blind the people by distorting the image of the living God. The Lord clearly sates in Revelations 1:8 (I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. The day is coming where Christ comes again and the bible says that the mourning of the sinners will not be heard because it will be too late. Christ comes to get his church (his people) but only then will all the sinners (the ones who have always rejected Jesus) will beg for mercy but it will be too late. And who ever said that the Christians are doing nothing? I don't now about you but there are tons of brave Christians who are standing up for the Kingdom of God and we have no shame in proclaiming salvation. "WE FEAR NO EVIL"!!!!. As the word of God says in Luke 9:26(If anyone is ashamed of me and my words,Jesus will be ashamed of him in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God"
Now, I understand you are passionate about God and it's great. But posting it here where only Yeats' poetry should be discussed...well, you are settimg yourself target for others, as well as confirming some prejudices some may already have...
A gentler coaxing was rather called for, instead of slamming down the fear card.
Blessings

| Posted on 2009-11-08 | by a guest


.: :.

I don't know if Yeats was a Christian or not but what i do know is that there is going to be a Second Coming of Christ and whoever has not received Jesus as is Lord and Savior(Romans 10:9) will not be saved...saved from what you may ask, well saved from the beast(Sphinx). The Lord has been announcing his coming for years and the beast wants to blind the people by distorting the image of the living God. The Lord clearly sates in Revelations 1:8 (I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. The day is coming where Christ comes again and the bible says that the mourning of the sinners will not be heard because it will be too late. Christ comes to get his church (his people) but only then will all the sinners (the ones who have always rejected Jesus) will beg for mercy but it will be too late. And who ever said that the Christians are doing nothing? I don't now about you but there are tons of brave Christians who are standing up for the Kingdom of God and we have no shame in proclaiming salvation. "WE FEAR NO EVIL"!!!!. As the word of God says in Luke 9:26(If anyone is ashamed of me and my words,Jesus will be ashamed of him in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.

| Posted on 2009-09-13 | by a guest


.: :.

wow thanks for all the ideas. i couldn't quite grasp at what the poem was really saying until i read all of these comments. i now feel as though i understand it more and have many ideas of my own :)

| Posted on 2009-08-15 | by a guest


.: :.

Thanks to all who hv given their comments abt the poem.it ws very hard to understand the poem.now its clear to .... 2009/06/04

| Posted on 2009-06-04 | by a guest


.: :.

This is awesome.OUr E.Lit teacher bOBBY will be pleased!THanks guys!

| Posted on 2009-05-26 | by a guest


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Thank you to all that wrote, I have recieved a better understanding of the poem. Its my senior year and I am super stressed out, I appreciate any help I get. Well I wpould also like to analyse a part. In the beginning of the forst stanza where The falcon is flying away from the falconer, thye metaphor stands for the young people who have given up the standarsds of their parents and grandparents for the new art, the new literature, the new music, and the other novelties of Yeats's time.

| Posted on 2009-03-25 | by a guest


.: :.

The year 1921 and World War I has finished with all it's destruction and killing. The old ways of anarchy no longer works well. For example, "the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceromony of innocence is drowned." According the poem the Second Coming, it is time for a second chance. The second coming will come with a lion and a human head. The Second Coming will bring about a better world. After the Second Coming, there will be truth and revalation.

| Posted on 2009-03-16 | by a guest


.: :.

The second coming is a real fact,delivered by yeats.as the condition world is concerned itis really getting worse.Falcon(people) are not listening to Falconer(god) anymore.Every thing had fallen,there is noone to hold anything,anarchy can be seen every where,as far as innocent people are concerned they are least and conditions are geeting worse day by day.Even nowadays evil or bad people are been able to spread thier bad views allover.

| Posted on 2009-01-20 | by a guest


.: :.

As the second starts, it gives us a description of the state-quo of the world as it was after 1921 This apocalyptic vision of the world is preceeded by complete anarchy where the bad people ransack in world and good ones no longer do anything.
the second stanza start a confirmation of the revealaton all Christians wait for, Yeats affrims this but the humble Christ sho takes pride in his humblness, who at one time, when the wolrd was still peaceful, calls for turning the second cheek to whomever hits the first one of any christian.
this non-conformit view of Chirst in his second coming is in stark contrast to the image of Christ as most poeple expect hom to be.
as history goes on, each gyre corles the narrower one, so it is moving tighter and tighter as mankinf moves from one great event to another. A nice Christ can do nothing, but instead his reason needs power, or else no one will admit him since poeple move away from the center- this being their moral and good nature- to the wide sky of sins and and turpitude. Poeple of the coming ages need a human reason and a beastial power in order to hold them back to the center. JUstice is, and never shall be, separated from power.A just savior needs power to exercice and impose power.

| Posted on 2009-01-12 | by a guest


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People who arent serios about this dont need to post anything. thanks and God bless.

| Posted on 2009-01-05 | by a guest


.: :.

".: :.
Another interpretation of the poem:
The start of the poem is speaking about the state of the world currently and how we are moving further and further away from God/Authority/Law etc etc... The falcon (the world) can no longer hear or feel the presence of the falconer (God) due to it's actions of rejecting the falconer. As the gyre (spiral) becomes wider and wider, the centre of this gyre is placed under strain. Eventually the falcon is pulling so far away from it's falconer that it breaks away. Due to this "Things fall apart" and "Mere anarchy", meaning total and utter x is then "loosed upon the world".
Although the process of moving far away from God is part of the cycle of apostacy that the world has gone through for years, this time because the world has gotten so bad, total anarchy has formed. Because of this, the tide of war and sin (blood-dimmed tide) is now released upon the entire world instead of doing what a tide normally does (growing and then disappearing, following a cycle). Now, the entire world is drowning in this tide and no one can be considered innocent. Yeats comments that such is the state of the world that good people sit back and do nothing and bad people are given free reign and are able to flourish and spread their evil views.
After commenting on the state of the world, Yeats calls out, saying that the Second Coming must be soon as the world is now so evil. When he says this, however, he receives a vision of Spiritus Mundi. This can be interpreted as the Anti-Christ, of whose coming is said to precede the second coming of Christ. The Anti-Christ, can refer to the great and terrible wars which Satan is said to leash upon the world before Christ's coming.
Yeats sees Spritus Mundi as a Sphinx which has been asleep for along time under the sand in the desert (hidden far away from civilisation). The sphinx, sensing the absolute anarchy in the world, recognises that it's time to come is now. The description of it's gaze as being blank and pitiless can be interpreted as being impersonal/inhumane/soulless etc. I.e. not of God.
"The darkness drops again" - This indicates that Yeats vision has ended. Yeats now comments on what he has seen. He says that he knows that the beast did not sleep peacefully but was haunted by the thought of a rocking cradle - symbolising the birth of Christ. The beast recognises the power of Christ and His presence in the world, and His second coming, unsettled beast.
Yeats ends the poem with a question. The meaning of the question can have many interpretations. Yeats could be questioning the beast's power and asking what terrible beast could Satan possible conjure to fight against the real Christ? According to the Bible, Jesus will come with His armies to save the world from the Anti-Christ, after it has had it's time to wage war for a bit. The fact that the beast slouches towards Bethlehem to be born, could mean that it recognises that it can never eventually win the war that it is about to start and it reluctantly travels to Bethlehem to be born as the Anti-Christ.
| Posted on 2008-11-11 | by a guest"
I think that this is right until the interpretation of the last five lines; he is creating images of the end of the world and talks about the anti-christ which precedes the second coming of christ as though christ will save us all; but then he uses a volta and changes the direction of the poem in line 18, after the vision has ended. he says that "20 centuries of stony sleep were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle," which means that the beast was born afraid of the coming christ. the sphinx is already born at this point, which means that the rough beast that is going to be born in bethlehem IS the second christ. his volta reflects how he used to be christian, but stopped being one, and allegedly became a wiccan. this would mean that his faith would be with the spiritus mundi, a latin translation of the spirit of the world, "Anima Mundi."

| Posted on 2008-12-16 | by a guest


.: :.

Wow ! all this information was so help full- except the one with the holy moly crap - who ever you are that did that, you need to get alife! seriously, am 17 and i dont even do that!

| Posted on 2008-12-07 | by a guest


.: :.

The poem itself, i believe, means that the world is in turmoil, and the "second coming" means that a change will come, and the world can become anew. for, right now, the world is falling apart. even though this poem was written in 1920, it can be related today, especially since we are having to deal with global warming and the decreasing ozone layer, and perhaps soon, all those things will be done when [if] there is a second coming.

| Posted on 2008-11-12 | by a guest


.: :.

BZZZZ! DIS MAH FAVE POEM!1 IZ DA BESTEST! FERSHURE! HOMESZz.

| Posted on 2008-11-12 | by a guest


.: :.

Another interpretation of the poem:
The start of the poem is speaking about the state of the world currently and how we are moving further and further away from God/Authority/Law etc etc... The falcon (the world) can no longer hear or feel the presence of the falconer (God) due to it's actions of rejecting the falconer. As the gyre (spiral) becomes wider and wider, the centre of this gyre is placed under strain. Eventually the falcon is pulling so far away from it's falconer that it breaks away. Due to this "Things fall apart" and "Mere anarchy", meaning total and utter x is then "loosed upon the world".
Although the process of moving far away from God is part of the cycle of apostacy that the world has gone through for years, this time because the world has gotten so bad, total anarchy has formed. Because of this, the tide of war and sin (blood-dimmed tide) is now released upon the entire world instead of doing what a tide normally does (growing and then disappearing, following a cycle). Now, the entire world is drowning in this tide and no one can be considered innocent. Yeats comments that such is the state of the world that good people sit back and do nothing and bad people are given free reign and are able to flourish and spread their evil views.
After commenting on the state of the world, Yeats calls out, saying that the Second Coming must be soon as the world is now so evil. When he says this, however, he receives a vision of Spiritus Mundi. This can be interpreted as the Anti-Christ, of whose coming is said to precede the second coming of Christ. The Anti-Christ, can refer to the great and terrible wars which Satan is said to leash upon the world before Christ's coming.
Yeats sees Spritus Mundi as a Sphinx which has been asleep for along time under the sand in the desert (hidden far away from civilisation). The sphinx, sensing the absolute anarchy in the world, recognises that it's time to come is now. The description of it's gaze as being blank and pitiless can be interpreted as being impersonal/inhumane/soulless etc. I.e. not of God.
"The darkness drops again" - This indicates that Yeats vision has ended. Yeats now comments on what he has seen. He says that he knows that the beast did not sleep peacefully but was haunted by the thought of a rocking cradle - symbolising the birth of Christ. The beast recognises the power of Christ and His presence in the world, and His second coming, unsettled beast.
Yeats ends the poem with a question. The meaning of the question can have many interpretations. Yeats could be questioning the beast's power and asking what terrible beast could Satan possible conjure to fight against the real Christ? According to the Bible, Jesus will come with His armies to save the world from the Anti-Christ, after it has had it's time to wage war for a bit. The fact that the beast slouches towards Bethlehem to be born, could mean that it recognises that it can never eventually win the war that it is about to start and it reluctantly travels to Bethlehem to be born as the Anti-Christ.

| Posted on 2008-11-11 | by a guest


.: :.

the second coming is about the chaos that is happening in the world, the situation that is not peaceful anymore because the follower(falcon) cannot hear the leader(falconer).things fall apart(everything thing get worse because of the situation that is happenig, all best lack conviction while the worst get full of passionate intensity, these simply means that the bad people are gaining momentum while the good one's are suffering because of the way chaos caused by the bad one's are happening.

| Posted on 2008-11-07 | by a guest


.: :.

the second coming is about the chaos that is happening in the world, the situation that is not peaceful anymore because the follower(falcon) cannot hear the leader(falconer).things fall apart(everything thing get worse because of the situation that is happenig, all best lack conviction while the worst get full of passionate intensity, these simply means that the bad people are gaining momentum while the good one's are suffering because of the way chaos caused by the bad one's are happening.

| Posted on 2008-11-07 | by a guest


.: :.

the second coming is about the chaos that is happening in the world, the situation that is not peaceful anymore because the follower(falcon) cannot hear the leader(falconer).things fall apart(everything thing get worse because of the situation that is happenig, all best lack conviction while the worst get full of passionate intensity, these simply means that the bad people are gaining momentum while the good one's are suffering because of the way chaos caused by the bad one's are happening.

| Posted on 2008-11-07 | by a guest


.: Second Coming :.

I just want to say to the person who did the x holy moly moly mly" thing: if you think people are stupid for reading these poems and the analysis that someone takes the time to write; just look at yourself for wasting all that time it would've taken to cut and paste what you did. its not very respectful or helpful to ANYONE, including yourself.

| Posted on 2008-06-05 | by a guest




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