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The Second Coming a Poem by W.B. Yeats Essay

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'Thing fall apart the centre cannot hold' is a line in W.B Yeats poem 'The Second Coming' because of its stunning, violent imagery and terrifying ritualistic language, "The Second Coming" is one of Yeats's most famous poems, its set in a world on the threshold of apocalypse must like the three texts. The texts 'Henry IV Part 2' by William Shakespeare, 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood and the poem 'The Waste Land' by T.S Eliot deals with the topic of disintegration of and within civilisation. The authors each explore this disintegration with their own medium, Shakespeare through a play, Eliot a poem and Atwood a novel, despite the differences in form all three texts contain similarities in content, exploring conflict in gender, the role of power and religious influences.

Gender conflict is based on the beliefs various societies have established on the roles men and women play in those cultures, and the change and breakdown of these roles is vital in the disintegration of all three texts. Eliot's 'The Waste Land' uses sex as a landmark to illustrate how low society has fallen, the separation of sex from love to Eliot stripped any beauty sex in the modern world could hold, as all significance is lost along with its connection to love. The loss of love is perhaps most clearly shown by the 'carbuncular' clerk for whom love, passion, nor even response is required in order for sexual gratification, his 'Exploring hands encounter no defence; His vanity requires no response, And makes a welcome of indifference.' The typist neither speaks nor acts in her own defence and so the clerk assumes a right to his own pleasure, it seems he almost hopes for her indifference, the attitude shown here starkly contrasts 'The change of Philomel, ...


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...s, Colleen. The love song of T.S. Eliot: elegiac homoeroticism in the early poetry. Gender, Desire, and Sexuality in T. S. Eliot. Ed. Cassandra Laity. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004. p. 20

Porfert, Joseph. Hell On Earth: The Feminist Dystopia of The Handmaid’s Tale. http://al.odu.edu/english/pubspdfs/Joseph-Porfert-essay.pdf [accessed on 07/01/2014]

Shakespeare, William. Henry IV Part 2. Ed. Peter Davidson. Penguin; New Ed edition, 2005

Tolan, Fiona. Margaret Atwood: Feminism and Fiction. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007. p. 152-53

Rabkin, N. Rabbits, Ducks, and Henry V in Shakespeare an Anthology of Criticism and Theory 1945-2000. Ed, McDonald, R. Blackwell 2004, p.249-250)

Rackin, Phyllis Shakespeare and Women. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. p. 68

2008-9 http://www.royal.gov.uk/historyofthemonarchy/kingsandqueensofengland/thelancastrians/
henryiv.spx [accessed 22/12/2012]


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