In lines 1-2, Keats discusses a widening gyre, a ring or circle. The widening gyre represents the gyre spinning out of control and this circle growing wider and wider with society in it. O’Brien says, “The ‘widening gyre’ describes not only the circular, ever-widening course of the falcon’s flight. It also refers to an important aspect of Yeats’ theory of history. Influenced by Giambattista Vico and Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophies of eternal recurrence, Yeats sees history as a cycle of declines and regenerations. Each historical era is replaced by its opposite. Gyres describe the interacting and conflicting era.”
With the fall of Britain and their horrible loss of financial superiority, it is obvious any society can fall no matter how strong they are. The relationship of the falconer and the falcon is the relationships of a teacher and student. The falconer sends the falcon out to fly and calls him back when ...
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...y our worst nightmares. He reminds us that if society cannot find discipline through religion and society when it is about to spin out of control and the good lack the conviction to make it right, only something horribly terrifying can take control.
Yeats ends the poem with a question mark. The question mark emphasized that there are no answers. We do not know what the horrifying beast will be or what type of terror it will inflict on society. Yeats’ poem is a powerful, emotional attempt to strike fear into society and make the question: What is going to happen to us? If the best the ones capable of saving society do not find their conviction, society is damned to the wrath of the beast. Yeats warns that the Second Coming will not be Jesus returning to take his followers home, but rather a beast that will take society into its own hands and inflict pain to all.
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