Chaos and Fright in William Butler Yeats’ The Second Coming

671 Words3 Pages
In the first stanza of William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming”, the speaker paints a picture of chaos and frightening sight. The first image we read is the gyre. “Turning and turning in the widening gyre” (1), Tracy Caldwell says “the gyre refers to Yeats’ personal understanding of cyclical events in history explained in his work, ‘A Vision’, which details the theory of metaphysics and history he claimed to have received from the spirit world” (2). In the second line, the speaker states that order is loose that “the falcon cannot hear the falconer” (2). “The circular motion of the falcon not only refers to the gyre explained above, but also may refer to the loss of gravitational center, exerting a powerful force of integration kept in place only if the falcon would (or could) keep its normal orbit around the falconer” (Caldwell 2). Bloom says “and the falcon represents his mastery of nature, now in the act of falling apart” (2). “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” (4). Everything is out of control. “The ceremony of innocence is drowned/the best lack all conviction, while ...
Open Document