William Butler Yeats: The Second Coming

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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.

In the above mentioned stanza Yeats has stated that the falcon is turning in widening gyre and is so far away from the falconer now that it cannot be heard. Yeats has used the word “Gyre” in order to stress upon the fact that history represents chaos and confusion. In real life, the falcon returns to his master after flying, but in this poetry Yeats says that the falcon has gone far away and has not returned. He could have used these lines to point out to the fact that the younger generation is no longer interested in ways of the “old” and have given up there ways.
The second line, “Centre cannot hold” is most significant and represents the thesis of the poem. It implies that centre has regressed into destruction and confusion. Yeats has used words like Blood-dimed tide ad anarchy to give a violent imagery to its readers. He is describing a situation where people are losing innocence and there is terror everywhere. Towards the end of this stanza, Yeats talks about the inability to distinguish between good and bad. According to him, the good lack “conviction” whereas the bad people are full of “passion”. Yeats could be talking or referring to situation Europe after war. He could be referring to all the ills of the twentieth century like world war two. There were other ills associated with this century as well. Hitler, fascism and atomic bomb, all arose within this century. The first stanza gives an imagery of the way things currently are in the world.

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

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