The Second Coming By William Butler Yeats

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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The Second Coming, written by William Butler Yeats, could only be interpreted in one way. First you must take into consideration, the state of Yeats' motherland at the time when this was written. Ireland was in the state of civil war and the idea of The Second Coming of Christ was a desperate cry in the form of a poem. The New Testament illustrates The Second Coming as a period of tribulation. Yeats wished that The Second Coming would purify the world and end warfare in Ireland.

"The falcon can not hear the falconer…" refers to the higher church officials who are the falcons who do not foresee the coming of the falconer, which is Christ. The Second Coming starts a time of absolute anarchy on 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."

This is how Yeats refers to the people on Earth who have the misconception that all of their actions are innocent. This is directed towards criminals, as well as those killing in the name of their country. Although they believe they are innocent, when anarchy is upon the Earth, they will be judged by Christ. Those filled with passionate intensity is in fact the fear instilled in the people living on Earth because they see the world around them crumbling.

"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 real shadows of the indignant desert birds." The personification of Christ as a lion with the head of a man is a mixture of the dominance and kindness during the time of tribulation. The lion is...