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September 1913 vs Easter 1916

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Write an appreciation about 'The Second Coming' [1127 Words] Consider the following points: * History behind the poem * The 'Gyre' * Sphinx * Format * My view Page 124 in 'W.B. Yeats - Selected Poems 'The Second Coming' is known as one of Yeats 'Later' poems; written in January 1919 and first published in November 1920. The Second Coming refers to the Christian belief in the return of Jesus Christ to fulfill the rest of the Messianic prophecy, I believe 'The Second Coming' is deeply concerned with the grim drama of modern war, including World War I as well as the Russian Revolution and the Easter 1916 Rising in Ireland, and Yeats himself described his poem as a reaction to "'the growing murderousness of the world'" to which these wars were alerting him. I Believe 'The Second Coming' to be a response by Yeats of the current state of the world and foreboding about what will come. Yeats is possibly writing this at a time were the aftermath of the war was only viewable. ...read more.


- "Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert A shape with a lion body and the head of a man". Yeats refers to the Sphinx of almost coming to life - "Is moving its slow thighs, While all about it reel shadows of the indigent desert birds" Again a reference to birds and the movement of birds, possibly the Gyre as he quotes it 'reels'. The theory of Yeats Gyre centres on a diagram made of two conical spirals, one in side the other, so that the widest part of one of the spirals rings around the narrowest part of the other spiral and vice versa. Yeats believed that this image captured the contrary motions within the historical process, and he divided each Gyre into specific regions that represent particular kinds of historical periods. Yeats believed the Gyre could also represent the psychological phases of an individuals development; he had the idea that it was almost like a spiral staircase, in a way that as you moved up the spiral staircase you were able to look down and see the path but not look up. ...read more.


The first stanza describing the conditions present in the world, the second summarising from those conditions that a monstrous second coming is about to take place, a 'rough beast' and the Sphinx rousing itself in the desert; lumbering toward Bethlehem to where Jesus was born. What connection does this have with Christian belief in the return of Jesus Christ to fulfill the rest of the Messianic prophecy? However, my opinion is only one of many who have read the poem and I acknowledge that some people whom have read it can paraphrase its meaning to satisfaction. After researching Yeats' poem "The Second Coming" I have found out that it has inspired many other works including - Joni Mitchell's song "Slouching toward Bethlehem", Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart and Joan Didion's novel Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I was unable to find a quote by a critic in relation to 'The Second Coming. I believe the aesthetic experience of its passionate language in the coming may be powerful enough to ensure its value and its importance in Yeats's work, and some may thrive the idea of the complex Gyre, whilst others including me - may not! ?? ?? ?? ?? Paulo Ross AS Level English JH ...read more.

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