Imagery And Biblical Allusion In William Yeats The Second Coming

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In William Yeats’ The Second Coming, the speaker shows his recognition of the degeneration of the world and turns the traditional biblical allusion of the Second Coming upside-down to incarnate his fear of what that degeneration might cause. The speaker imagines that the frightening state of current affairs will lead to a second coming of the messiah which will be far more gruesome than the first. The speaker uses figurative language and paradox in the first stanza to describe the injustice in the present world. In a metaphor, the speaker compares society to a bird of prey stating, “The falcon cannot hear the falconer.” The biblical allusion in the poem’s title hints that the body of The Second Coming may carry religious themes as well. Therefore, …show more content…
Using imagery and figurative language, the speaker portrays the severity of this Day of Judgment. The Messiah that comes to judge the world is described using imagery as, “ A shape with a lion body and the head of a male.” By illustrating the savior as a sphinx-like creature, the speaker shows that the figure that appears in the Second Coming as he predicts will not be peaceful or understanding like Jesus Christ in the first coming. Rather the Messiah will be a strange mythical creature, unable to show any mercy to the world because of the severity of its deterioration. In a simile, the speaker depicts the horrible beast as “pitiless as the son.” By comparing the messianic figure to the sun, the speaker shows that the creature will show no mercy when it arrives because of how badly society has behaved, just as the sun shows no mercy when it burns powerfully in the sky. The speaker is fearful of this gruesome and unexpected Second Coming, which he imagines, and even more frustrated that it will be cause by the injustice he sees in the present

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