The Second Coming W. B. Yeats

The Second Coming Critical Analysis

The Second Coming W. B. Yeats
The Second Coming W. B. Yeats

The Second Coming Poem

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
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
roubles 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?


            The Poem “The Second Coming” is composed by an Irish poet, ‘William Butler Yeats’, Who was known as one of the greatest dramatists, prose writers, and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century English Literature. The poem was written in 1919 and published in 1920. Yeats won several Literary Prizes in his literary career including Nobel Prize in 1923. He was much inspired by William Wordsworth, William Blake, John Keats, and many other poets of the Puritan age and Romantic age. The theme of his poem is – love, war nature, humanity, and relationship as well.

Theme Of The Poem

Violence, Anarchy, apocalypse, Christianity, prophecy, and meaninglessness are the major themes foregrounded in this poem.

Significance Of The Title

The title of the poem, “The Second Coming” has a thematic significance. The poem’s title refers to the second coming or the return of Jesus Christ in order to save humanity. The speaker of the poem describes the chaotic situation in the world and hopes for the second coming. 

Analysis Of The Poem

            The present poem “The Second Coming” is one of the most successful poems of W. B. Yeats. It is a non-rhyming poem. It is a poem of twenty-two lines expressing the opinion of the second incarnation. In the first stanza of the poem, the poet explains the state of complete disorder in Ireland. The poet says that time passes very fast and the wheel of time also moves fast. It changes rapidly. The poet further says that the falcon does not hear the falconer. Here falcon is a small bird of prey and the falconer is a trainer of the bird who trains the falcon in the art of preying or who gives the training of preying to the falcon. But now the falcon is not in the control of the trainer.

            Here poet wants to say that the situation is out of control in Ireland. There is a state of anarchy everywhere in the country. Thus, it is a state of complete disorder. People do not respect laws and rules. Innocent and weak people are destroyed and killed while evil or wicked are worshipped. The good people are losing their faith and confidence while bad people are growing very fast. The poet says that evil people are being stronger and virtuous people are being weaker in the state of disorder in the country. Here the poet tries to show the time of the twentieth century in Ireland. Thus the poet presents the age here in an impressive way.

            In the first stanza, the poet tells us about the state of anarchy spread in Ireland. Now he imagines the second incarnation. The poet has a strong belief that the second incarnation of God can save this Earth from sin. The poet says that when sins are on its top then God comes on the earth to save mankind. The violence has crossed its limit and it is intolerable for people. So now it is the correct time for the coming of God on Earth. He says that God would appear on Earth Very Soon.

            The poet has a firm belief that a special miracle is about to happen very soon. The second incarnation of God surely would appear on the earth. The poet imagines that the second incarnation of God would have a strange shape. It would have the head of a man and the body of a lion and would appear first in the desert. His shine would be unbearable like the shine of the sun.

            It is a huge shape having an angry and colorful sight. The poet gives the name Sphinx to the huge body of the combination of man and beast. The poet says that now there is a state of anarchy everywhere and sin has reached its top and Sphinx is now awake after the sleep of twenty Centuries. He is outraged now.

            It seems as if the poet is influenced by Hindu philosophy because the incarnation of God ‘Narsimha’ resembles the imagination of the poem. As Jesus Christ took birth on the earth to save mankind. Like that the second incarnation of God also would appear on the earth to save Mankind.


The poem expresses ‘W. B. Yeats‘ opinion on the state of anarchy in Ireland and his belief in the coming of a second incarnation of God to save humanity from sin. The poem is an impressive representation of the time and situation in Ireland during the twentieth century and Yeats’ belief in the power of a higher being to save humanity.

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