Both William Butler Yeats' "Second Coming" and T.S. Eliot's "Journey of the Magi" present a renewal process, but each one focuses on different goals and subjects; Eliot on a particular person's transformation, whereas Yeats predicts a renovation of the entire world as a result of an escalation of chaos. And while Yeats attempts to present a definite picture of what he believes will happen at the time of this renovation, as a human being, lack of foresight leaves him to conclude with nothing more than an unanswerable question. Eliot, on the other hand, uses ambiguity to support and develop his theme: death is the way to rebirth. But for Eliot this rebirth, which must be necessarily obscure, is full of doubt, accompanied by pain, and extremely perplexing to the newly-born (www.fgcu* 6). Eliot utilizes a vague diction and imagery, and his narrative tone progresses to philosophical and doubtful discourse. In contrast, Yeats maintains a pessimistic tone created by his futility on the bleak situation toward which the world proceeds. As opposed to projecting an inevitable and pessimistic demise of the Christian era and a renewal of the world as Yeats does in his poem, "Second Coming," Eliot presents the renewal of a Magus, his way of life and beliefs as a result of the birth of the Christian era.
Yeats views the world and civilization as a cycle: the world revolves on a two thousand year period, and restarts every two thousand years ("Twenty centuries . . . come round at last"). Yeats' view may lead to an initial response of the inescapableness of the world's end, and therefore no need for concern, but his pessimistic outlook results from society's...
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...Eliot's message, death results in rebirth.
Keane, Patrick J. Yeats's Interactions with Tradition. Columbia: University of Missouri Press,
Peterson, Richard F. William Butler Yeats. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1982.
Pinion, F.B. A T.S. Eliot Companion. Totowa, New Jersey: Barnes and Noble Books,1986.
Raffel, Burton. T.S Eliot. New York: Frederick Publishing Co., 1982.
Unterecker, John. A Reader's Guide to William Butler Yeats. New York: Octagon Publishers,
Williamson, George. A Reader's Guide to T.S. Eliot; a Poem by Poem Analysis. New York:
Octagon Books, 1966.
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