Analysis of "The Second Coming"

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The poem "The Second Coming" was written by William
Butler Yeats in 1919. Yeats was an accomplished Irish poet and was known for the socio-religious ideas he emphasized in his poetry. In "The Second Coming," his ideas unfold in three significant metaphors. The first metaphor relates a falcon and its falconer to the destruction of society. The metaphor has two possible interpretations. One view may be that the falcon represents society and the falconer represents God and morality. By saying "The falcon cannot hear the falconer," Yeats may be implying that society has lost sight of God and has lost the values and morals once held in place by the strong obedience to God. In another interpretation, Yeats may be saying that the falcon represents a war and the falconer represents the military power that has unleashed it to the point where all control is lost and faith in God has been abandoned. The next line of the poem explains this process; "things fall apart" indicates that the runaway war has sparked disorder in the public. "The centre cannot hold," signifies that the obedience to God has lost its value. Even though there may be more than one interpretation, the metaphor points up one socio-religious theme that society has lost order and in turn lost faith in God. The second metaphor conveys Yeats' idea that anarchy has taken over. The metaphor begins with "The blood-dimmed tide is loosed," suggesting that the purity of the soul has been corrupted by the destruction that accompanies chaos. Yeats uses the second line of the metaphor, "...and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned," to show how the value of life, health of country, and civilized order have died. In this metaphor Yeats conveys his socio-religious idea that the deterioration of societal morals has led the way for anarchy to corrupt the religious purity of the individual. The third metaphor brings out Yeats' religious idea of the Second Coming of Christ. Yeats begins the second stanza with...
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