The Second Coming By William Butler Yeats Jenna Bruesehoff & Rhiannon Davis Title: First look The Second Coming= The Second Coming of Christ. When we hear "The Second Coming" it immediately brings up a very Christian connotation. 2000 years after his birth, Christ is supposed to have returned to bring peace and prosperity to his people. Background -Written in 1919 after World War I, making it part of the Modernist period. -Uses Christian imagery to describe the atmosphere of post-war Europe. -Yeat's book, A Vision, describes a universal system of cyclical birth, based around a turning gyre. Gyre= Spiral, Vortex -Yeats was born in Dublin, Ireland, and was fascinated by mysticism and spiritualism. So who's speaking? -The speaker in this poem is someone prophetic, someone who knows more than the rest of the world and is able to see things that others cannot see. The speaker is very Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, Gyre: A spiral; a vortex. The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? Paraphrase Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, Spinning in the growing vortex The falcon is too far from the falconer The world is in chaos, the center breaks apart The world is in a lawless state Paraphrase (cont.) The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate A wave of blood crashes down, everywhere The innocent people are drowned The good are weak, while the bad Are passionate and intense Paraphrase (cont.) Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image of Spiritus Mundi Surely it's time for some divine truth; Surely it's time for the Second Coming. Hardly had I spoken those words When a vision of the World Spirit Troubled me: Paraphrase (cont.) somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it In the desert, The shape of a sphinx, Eyes blank and cruel like the sun, Is standing up, while all around it Spin angry desert birds Paraphrase (cont.) The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? The vision stops, but now I know That 2000 years of sleep Were full of nightmares created by a rocking cradle, And what terrible beast, it's time finally arrived, Walks towards Bethlehem to be born? Connotations: Blank Verse: -Has a consistent meter but no rhyme scheme Iambic Pentameter: -Roughly iambic pentameter; most lines have ten syllables. Starts off stressed. Sonnets: -Second stanza has fourteen lines; first stanza (8 lines) can be thought of as a fragment of a sonnet Tone Shift The tone of the poem is pessimistic. The author sees the worst side of things and has no hope for the future. Uses words like: Anarchy Blood-dimmed tide pitiless eyes Shift from the first stanza to the second stanza, the speaker seems to lose confidence. Title Revisited: While we first thought The Second Coming would be about Jesus, we now know that while this prediction definitely has biblical ties, Yeats is talking about a new godly being that will awaken amidst the chaotic post-war climate of the times. Themes: When the world has disintegrated into chaos, it's at the beginning of a new age. This is part of a theory developed in Yeat's book, A Vision, where the human history is based on 2000 year cycles. End: Chaos,irrationality. Themes Good and evil are difficult to tell apart. Can be seen in the line "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity". This line makes it seem like yeats reveres the worst people simply because they are passionate in what they believe in. QUIZ TIME Q1: This poem is an example of a ____ work. A. Victorian B. Modernist C.Romanticist D.Renaissance Explain. Modernism (1900- present) The prosperity of the Victorian era has now disintegrated into chaos, just like it is described in Yeat's poem. Another obvious clue is the time this poem was written in, 1919. QUIZ TIME Q2: The metre in which this poem is written is.... A. Dactylic Hexameter B. Iambic Monometer C. Iambic Trimeter D. Iambic Pentameter Iambic Pentameter The BEST lack ALL conVICtion, WHILE the WORST Are FULL of PASSionATE inTENsiTY. Five stressed, five unstressed syllables per line. Bibliography "The Second Coming: Rhyme, Form & Meter." Shmoop. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2013. <http://www.shmoop.com/second-coming/rhyme-form-meter.html>. A. A website with information on the connotation of the poem, such as the meter. Also has a summary of the poem and it's meaning. B. Source is up to date and contains valid information on the poem. C.Pulled information on the rhyme scheme and Meter of the poem. "The Second Coming." - Poets.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2013. <http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15527>. A. Website with information on poets and their poems. B. Non-profit website with valid information on the meaning of the poem. C. Pulled information on why the poem was written.