Both of Yeats’ poems express his opinions and viewpoint of the changes in society and people’s beliefs. Through the poem ‘The Second Coming’ Yeats highlights his belief that the twentieth century had seen the beginning of a new darker era, full of violence and struggles for independence and the effects of the Great War. The second poem ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ expresses Yeats’ observations of old age and the comforting idea of travelling to Byzantium.
Through the poem ‘The Second Coming’ reflects more than just society and politics within Ireland, but expresses Yeats’ turn of attention towards larger scale graphical and spiritual events such as The Great War in 1919. The Christian idea of the ‘Second coming’ that Christ would return is featured as the centre pin to Yeats’ poem as questions what has become of his present day society, and how it had mutated and evolved from the more traditional, biblical times featured in religious stories and beliefs. The poem showcases Yeats’ acute understanding that a potentially dark time is ahead. The poem ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ features the theme of aging, a popular writing topic of Yeats’ also used in other poems such as ‘Wild Swans at Coole’. The idea of escaping the unaccommodating world and society of youth, and journeying to a calm Island of Byzantium appears a comforting thought. The poem written in when Yeats was around 60 years old provides insight into his thoughts of what it means to be old.
‘The Second Coming’ contains links between how Yeats views society and the birth of Christ and the belief he would return. The first stanza of the poem contains imagery of violence and a lack of order. The phrase ‘mere anarchy’ highlights the main subject of the poem, the loss of a culture or civilisation, this dark imagery is used throughout the poem, ‘ Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold’ implies that the things at the heart of