Skip Nav

The Second Coming Critical Essays


❶Critical Reception The general relationship of A Vision to "The Second Coming" has been accepted by most critics, yet the elusive nature of Yeats's imagery has prompted varying interpretations of the poem.

Navigate Guide

Popular Topics

Educated in England and Ireland, Yeats was erratic in his studies, shy, and prone to daydreaming. In he enrolled in the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin. There he met the poet George Russell, who shared Yeats's enthusiasm for dreams and visions. Together they founded the Dublin Hermetic Society to conduct magical experiments and "to promote the study of Oriental Religions and Theosophy.

Under the influence of O'Leary, Yeats took up the cause of Gaelic writers at a time when much native Irish literature was in danger of being lost as the result of England's attempts to anglicize Ireland through a ban on the Gaelic language.

By the early years of the twentieth century Yeats had risen to international prominence as a proponent of the Gaelic Revival and had published numerous plays and collections of poetry.

In Yeats married Georgiana Hyde-Lees. Through his young wife's experiments with automatic writing, Yeats gathered the materials on which he based A Vision, his explanation of historical cycles and theory of human personality based upon the phases of the moon. It was first published in November in The Dial and later appeared in his collection Michael Robartes and the Dancer, one of several works of the period that exemplify the rhetorical, occasionally haughty tone that readers today identify as characteristically Yeatsian.

In Yeats became a senator for the newly formed Irish Free State. The following year he was honored with the Nobel Prize for literature. Ill health forced Yeats to leave the Irish senate in He devoted his remaining years to poetry and died in France in The poem's title makes reference to the Biblical reappearance of Christ, prophesied in Matthew 24 and the Revelations of St.

John, which according to Christianity, will accompany the Apocalypse and divine Last Judgment. Other symbols in the poem are drawn from mythology, the occult, and Yeats's view of history as defined in his cryptic prose volume A Vision.

The principal figure of the work is a sphinx-like creature with a lion's body and man's head, a "rough beast" awakened in the desert that makes its way to Christ's birthplace, Bethlehem. While critics acknowledge the work's internal symbolic power, most have studied its themes in relation to Yeats's A Vision. According to the cosmological scheme of A Vision, the sweep of history can be represented by two intersecting cones, or gyres, each of which possesses one of two opposing "tinctures," primary and antithetical, that define the dominant modes of civilization.

Yeats associated the primary or solar tincture with democracy, truth, abstraction, goodness, egalitarianism, scientific rationalism, and peace. The contrasting antithetical or lunar tincture he related to aristocracy, hierarchy, art, fiction, evil, particularity, and war.

Many other historical English writing favorites wrote in this time period where modernist ideals were most prevalent. William Butler Yeats was one of the most interesting and influential twentieth-century poets. In the beginning of the poem Yates talks about a falcon which in medieval times be used to hung small ground animals such as rodents to bring back to their keeper. The falcon has flown too far away and has gotten itself lost trying to find its way, symbolizing a collapse of social anarchy in Europe the atmosphere Yates was writing in and setting a general overall mood for what the rest of the poem is to bring.

This line keeps with he same mood as the falcon losing its way also makes another shot at social stability most likely referring to his society right after the war. Line nine strikes the beginning of the second stanza, and thus the reader a different vision. In an instant the figure disappears and darkness swells over again. Lastly Yates makes a reference about the character making a trip to Bethlehem to insure the birth of Christ, entering back into the world.

An obvious literary device used in this poem is mood, but more importantly the change in mood and what it is suppose to signal. Mood is the overall feeling of the poem. This poem fluctuates but for the majority of the of it, the mood of darkness and evil seems to catch your eye.

Setting is also used in this poem to make connection to an object, in this case a creature. Setting is the time, or place the poem takes place in. The figure seen in line twelve of the second stanza is supposedly thought to be going to Bethlehem, a holy capital and recognized place of holiness. Hence when a setting such as Bethlehem is incorporated the reader can immediately consider the poems relevance to religious teachings or thought.

You can see this biblical thought when Yates mentions the blood-dimmed wave in line five, which can be contrasted to the great biblical flood. Diction is the style of literary wording the writer chooses to use, and in this case a clever rhyming scheme was incorporated.

For example in lines three and four the words hold and world are rhymed. This poem gives the reader a feeling of uneasiness from the mood and overall manner of the poem. It is meant to appear dark, mentioning things such as blood dimmed waves and darkness falling over you.

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

"The Second Coming" Yeats, William Butler Irish poet, dramatist, essayist, critic, short story writer, and autobiographer. The following entry presents criticism of Yeats's .

Privacy FAQs

- Poetry Research Essay analysis THE SECOND COMING By William Butler Yeats, Mr. Yeats relates his vision, either real or imagined, concerning prophesies of the days .

About Our Ads

Critical essay on “The Second Coming” “The Second Coming” from W.B. Yeats is a description that transcends the limits of poetic beauty to become a work of critical character. The poem transmits to the reader an atmosphere of chaos and destruction, this description chaotic of environment has a direct relationship with the cultural and . Unlike most editing & proofreading services, we edit for everything: grammar, spelling, punctuation, idea flow, sentence structure, & more. Get started now!

Cookie Info

In contrast to his first coming as a little child and as a messiah, his second coming is significant as he will come as a judge and a king that he will come to judge the blessed and wicked i.e. to separate the sheep from the goats. Essay about The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats - An Unexpected Future In his poem "The Second Coming," William Butler Yeats expresses that the endured disastrous behaviors of humankind will result in the beginning of a new age that is gloomy, fearful, and controlled by chaos.