Professor David Hartman
6 July 2011
The Second Coming: Analysis and Symbolism
The poem titled “The Second Coming” was written by William Butler Yeats who was an Irish poet who was a symbolist who used allusion and imagery as his style. His used od symbolic images and allusion can be seen through his poem “The Second Coming” in which he uses images, figurative language, allusions, and traditional forms to describe the Christian belief of Jesus Christ second coming to the world. He uses violent imagery at the beginning to describe a world in chaos. The poem uses very dark language to describe its meaning and to describe what is going on in the world at the time which its purpose is to teach the significance of the tragic events.
The first line of the poem “turn and turn in the widening gyre” is used as a figurative language. A gyre in oceanography is any large system of rotating ocean currents, particularly those involved with large wind movements. In this line he uses the phrase as a symbol for two occurring events which are the chaos of what is going on and the outcome which is the second coming of Jesus. The second line “ The falcon cannot hear the falconer” symbolizes all the destruction happening during that time which was during world war I. Man did not have any control over it and cannot stop it or control it by any means. He refers to things falling apart as a sign that the end was near as a he saw it. The first stanza of the poem describes a world of chaos and anarchy and all the evils happening at the time as he uses phrases like” ; the center cannot hold;’ as meaning the world did not have control over it.
The theme of the poem is apocalyptic in which he uses violent images to describe a world that is about to encounter a total destruction before the return of Jesus. This follows a traditional Christian belief that there would be dramatic chaotic events that would lead to the second coming of Jesus to the world. He believed...