In his eloquent poem "The Second Coming" William Butler Yeats uses word choice and phrase combinations to convey to the reader an understanding of his sentiment of impossibility concerning the fate of spirituality for the human race. His inner conscious is spread out in the poem for the reader to either accompany him in his darkness or to turn their back and continue to believe in their own form of hopefulness in spirituality.
Yeats cleverly hints to the reader his despair in the phrase, "Turning and turning in the widening gyre" (Yeats, Longman p. 2329: 1.). The reader can hear the voice of the poet describing his journey farther and farther from his once cherished center based on religion. His beliefs have been shattered over time. According to the introduction in The Longman Anthology British Literature, "The 1890's in London were heady times for a young poet. Yeats became even more active in his studies of the occult" which was years before he wrote The Second Coming. This interest may have led the poet away from his former religious values. It is possible that because of this turn away from religion the author's basic value system may have been in turmoil at the time of writing The Second Coming.
Yeats drifting away from his religious beliefs may be evidenced in the phrase, "The falcon cannot hear the falconer" which could be interpreted as he can no longer hear the voice of his former God (Yeats, 2). The falcon in this sentence may refer to Yeats himself and the falconer may symbolize his former God. When the author writes, "the center cannot hold" he may be referring to his idea that organized religion can no longer give credence or explanation to his wor...
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...s of the words written by Yeats and their possible meanings, the poetry written can surely be considered worthy of placement in the literary cannon not only for the beauty of the work then for the author's ability to raise questions for generations to come.
Bressler, Charles E. Literary Criticism. New Jersey. Prentice Hall, 1999.
Conrad, Joseph. "Heart of Darkness" The Longman Anthology British Literature. Ed. David Damrosch. Longman. New York. 2000. 2190-2246.
Damrosch, David, et al., ed. The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Vol. B. Compact ed. New York: Longman - Addison Wesley Longman, 2000.
Scott, Paul. The Jewel in the Crown. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. 1976.
Yeats, William, Butler. "The Second Coming." The Longman Anthology British Literature. Ed. David Damrosch. Longman. New York. 2000. 2329.
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