Second Coming Essay Research Paper Surely the

Second Coming Essay, Research Paper ?Surely the Second coming is at hand;? when a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight:? A shape with a lion body and the head of a man, / A

Second Coming Essay, Research Paper

?Surely the Second coming is at hand;? when a vast image out of Spiritus

Mundi Troubles my sight:? A shape with a lion body and the head of a man, / A

gaze blank And pitiless as the sun,?(2.9-15). Is the world actually coming to

an end? Is this sphinx-like creature truly our inevitable savior? Or, is Yeats?

life and things surrounding it coming to chaos? Is the war and restless spirit

of Ireland influencing Yeats? work? On the other hand, is Yeats trying to help

one to understand the frustrations of their own lives on a more personal level?

The depth of Yeats?s work, among many other great poets, is immeasurable. Many

surrounding emotions, and intentions may go into this poem, along with various

other subsidies the poet may not even be aware of. This is precisely why the

literature department, or lack of, in many schools is weakening. Too many

teachers, professors, and now students focus either solely on rhyme and meter or

the ?obvious? reason a poet might compose a poem, such as personal

relationships, failures, earthly surroundings, or mental distress. The educators

of students today need to be more open-minded on the interpretations one has for

a particular poem. Literature has been a very strong Darr2 foundation for any

prosperous civilization. For centuries poets will be immortalized in classes and

books. However, as their words are remembered their spirit has been lost. When

analyzing a great poet?s work such as Yeats, the most obvious interpretation

is usually not the correct one. Literature helps open minds to endless

possibilities in every possible aspect. If students are taught to just accept

explanations and are discouraged from questioning or even thinking for

themselves, then the world will soon become full of conformed, mindless robots.

Future leaders of the world must be taught to analyze everything. They must be

taught to use their imaginations and logical thinking together. That is a most

powerful combination in the hands of a determined student. The process must be

in the root of this thinking. It must begin with literature. Throughout Yeats?

life he has produced numerous controversial poems. Many people hold their own,

very strong, opinions about poems. The truth is, there is not only one. Yeats

had many different influences when writing ?The Second Coming?, and it is

important for the reader to know each of them before they can even begin to

understand the many meanings and interpretations of this poem. Yeats?s poetry

has three major influences. The more obvious one is the fact that Yeats was from

Ireland, and at the time that this poem was written, World War II was affecting

Ireland. However, WWII was not something knew to the Ireland?s culture because

for the past 300 years Ireland had been involved in many other wars and at the

same time trying to gain their independence. Another influence on Yeats?s

writing was his personal religion, Gnosticism. According to Harold Bloom, Yeats

believed Christianity to be ?the barbarian theosophy,? and declined to

distinguish it form Gnosticism (1). Gnosticism Darr3 has to do with searching

for self-knowledge and rejecting the society of their time. This seems to have

been quite appropriate for Yeats and his writing. The third influence on

Yeats?s writing was the work of other philosophical writers such as Shelley,

Blake, and Nietzsche. Yeats used some of the imagery and context of their

previous works to help describe the meaning of ?The Second Coming.? When

reading ?The Second Coming? one?s first impression might be of someone who

felt as though they had no control of their life and therefore life was about to

come to an end. That interpretation was not well thought out and very

narrow-minded. The meaning is much more complex than that. ?The Second

Coming? is a very powerful piece of poetry, and one of the most universal

admired poems of the 20th century. Attempting to understand William Butler

Yeats?s work is almost impossible unless you let one to become completely

open-minded on every aspect of the poem. There are many different theories as to

what the true meaning of ?The Second Coming? really is. The fact of the

matter is that Yeats purposefully has more than one interpretation of ?The

Second Coming.? He wants the average person to open his or her creative mind

and to analyze every influence, language, and imagery to understand the message

he is trying to get across. When reading the opening lines of ?The Second

Coming? there are two meaning Yeats is trying to portray. In the opening

figuration, the center is man, unable as the falconer to no longer maintain

control over a ?turning and turning? movement. Man is going through constant

chaos that is affecting all of society. It is described, as ?Things Darr4 are

falling apart; the center cannot hold;?(1.3). However, there is evidence also

suggesting that the falconer is also the poet himself. The poet is loosing

control of his own creativity. He has a powerful and creative message to get

across but struggles to put it on paper. This presentation, either way, is

breaking down, or falling apart. At the end of the first stanza Yeats describes

and uses imagery when stating, ?The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and

everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned;? (1.5-6). This of course

refers to the biblical story of Noah and the great flood. Yeats is painting a

picture of an ocean of blood, which symbolizes the ?last wave?, or the end

of the world. In the beginning of the second stanza words are crucial here, for

Yeats ?surely? is showing us how insure he is, the repetition of

?surely? betraying his uncertainty. When Yeats repeated the words ?the

Second Coming? he is either referring to the Christian Second Coming of Christ

or the Gnostic Second Birth of their Demigod. Either interpretation is a great

change and uncertainty. Next Yeats describes the spirit of the world or

?Spiritus Mundi.? This image is identical with ?Anima Mundi,? the second

part of Per Amica Silentia Lunae, written also by Yeats just two years before (Cowell

15). In the second half of the last stanza Yeats states: ?somewhere in the

sands of the desert A shape with lion body and 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 birds? (2.5-9). Yeats is describing a male Sphinx, Egyptian

rather than Greek; also there is evidence that the Sphinx is associated with the

sun god. The literary representation here is of Shelley?s Darr5 famous sonnet

?Ozyman-dias,? which described a monument that was in the shape of a male

Sphinx (Donoghue and Mulryne 68). This is evidence clearly shows how other

philosophical writers influenced Yeats?s work. Another example of this takes

place in the third and final part of this poem. These last few lines are

extremely confusing but very powerful. Yeats goes on to say: ?The darkness

drops again; but now I know Those twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to

nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at

last, Slouches twards Bethlehem to be born??(2.17-21). The ?stony sleep?

of the Sphinx associates him with the ?stony sleep? of Blake?s Urizen in

The Book of Urizen. According to Donoghue and Mulryne, those twenty

?Christian? centuries can be taken as the outside term in this metaphor;

they represent nature, the fallen object-world. The ?rocking cradle? is the

inside term, standing for the subjective unconsciousness that is aware of the

Incarnation (24). Yeats’s vision in the end seems to be that the Christian age

is over and the Gnostic?s are waiting at Bethlehem for the Second Birth of the

Sphinx. Summarizing the experience of ?The Second Coming? reveals a

successful representation of other philosophical writers such as Shelley, and

Blake. It portrays many of the characteristics of the Gnostic religion. The poem

demonstrates how Yeats is waiting for his Sphinx to come again in ?The Second

Coming?. Lastly, Yeats uses imagery and the influences of the Irish wars to

depict the chaos and intensity throughout the poem. It is with theses influences

that Yeats is able to express the many meaning of ?The Second Coming?. Darr1

Christin Darr Dr. Arthur Edward Salmon Eng.II 9:45a.m. 25 May 2000 The Spirit of

William Butler Yeats and ?The Second Coming? ?Surely the Second coming is

at hand;? when a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight:? A

shape with a lion body and the head of a man, / A gaze blank And pitiless as the

sun,?(2.9-15). Is the world actually coming to an end? Is this sphinx-like

creature truly our inevitable savior? Or, is Yeats? life and things

surrounding it coming to chaos? Is the war and restless spirit of Ireland

influencing Yeats? work? On the other hand, is Yeats trying to help one to

understand the frustrations of their own lives on a more personal level? The

depth of Yeats?s work, among many other great poets, is immeasurable. Many

surrounding emotions, and intentions may go into this poem, along with various

other subsidies the poet may not even be aware of. This is precisely why the

literature department, or lack of, in many schools is weakening. Too many

teachers, professors, and now students focus either solely on rhyme and meter or

the ?obvious? reason a poet might compose a poem, such as personal

relationships, failures, earthly surroundings, or mental distress. The educators

of students today need to be more open-minded on the interpretations one has for

a particular poem. Literature has been a very strong Darr2 foundation for any

prosperous civilization. For centuries poets will be immortalized in classes and

books. However, as their words are remembered their spirit has been lost. When

analyzing a great poet?s work such as Yeats, the most obvious interpretation

is usually not the correct one. Literature helps open minds to endless

possibilities in every possible aspect. If students are taught to just accept

explanations and are discouraged from questioning or even thinking for

themselves, then the world will soon become full of conformed, mindless robots.

Future leaders of the world must be taught to analyze everything. They must be

taught to use their imaginations and logical thinking together. That is a most

powerful combination in the hands of a determined student. The process must be

in the root of this thinking. It must begin with literature. Throughout Yeats?

life he has produced numerous controversial poems. Many people hold their own,

very strong, opinions about poems. The truth is, there is not only one. Yeats

had many different influences when writing ?The Second Coming?, and it is

important for the reader to know each of them before they can even begin to

understand the many meanings and interpretations of this poem. Yeats?s poetry

has three major influences. The more obvious one is the fact that Yeats was from

Ireland, and at the time that this poem was written, World War II was affecting

Ireland. However, WWII was not something knew to the Ireland?s culture because

for the past 300 years Ireland had been involved in many other wars and at the

same time trying to gain their independence. Another influence on Yeats?s

writing was his personal religion, Gnosticism. According to Harold Bloom, Yeats

believed Christianity to be ?the barbarian theosophy,? and declined to

distinguish it form Gnosticism (1). Gnosticism Darr3 has to do with searching

for self-knowledge and rejecting the society of their time. This seems to have

been quite appropriate for Yeats and his writing. The third influence on

Yeats?s writing was the work of other philosophical writers such as Shelley,

Blake, and Nietzsche. Yeats used some of the imagery and context of their

previous works to help describe the meaning of ?The Second Coming.? When

reading ?The Second Coming? one?s first impression might be of someone who

felt as though they had no control of their life and therefore life was about to

come to an end. That interpretation was not well thought out and very

narrow-minded. The meaning is much more complex than that. ?The Second

Coming? is a very powerful piece of poetry, and one of the most universal

admired poems of the 20th century. Attempting to understand William Butler

Yeats?s work is almost impossible unless you let one to become completely

open-minded on every aspect of the poem. There are many different theories as to

what the true meaning of ?The Second Coming? really is. The fact of the

matter is that Yeats purposefully has more than one interpretation of ?The

Second Coming.? He wants the average person to open his or her creative mind

and to analyze every influence, language, and imagery to understand the message

he is trying to get across. When reading the opening lines of ?The Second

Coming? there are two meaning Yeats is trying to portray. In the opening

figuration, the center is man, unable as the falconer to no longer maintain

control over a ?turning and turning? movement. Man is going through constant

chaos that is affecting all of society. It is described, as ?Things Darr4 are

falling apart; the center cannot hold;?(1.3). However, there is evidence also

suggesting that the falconer is also the poet himself. The poet is loosing

control of his own creativity. He has a powerful and creative message to get

across but struggles to put it on paper. This presentation, either way, is

breaking down, or falling apart. At the end of the first stanza Yeats describes

and uses imagery when stating, ?The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and

everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned;? (1.5-6). This of course

refers to the biblical story of Noah and the great flood. Yeats is painting a

picture of an ocean of blood, which symbolizes the ?last wave?, or the end

of the world. In the beginning of the second stanza words are crucial here, for

Yeats ?surely? is showing us how insure he is, the repetition of

?surely? betraying his uncertainty. When Yeats repeated the words ?the

Second Coming? he is either referring to the Christian Second Coming of Christ

or the Gnostic Second Birth of their Demigod. Either interpretation is a great

change and uncertainty. Next Yeats describes the spirit of the world or

?Spiritus Mundi.? This image is identical with ?Anima Mundi,? the second

part of Per Amica Silentia Lunae, written also by Yeats just two years before (Cowell

15). In the second half of the last stanza Yeats states: ?somewhere in the

sands of the desert A shape with lion body and 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 birds? (2.5-9). Yeats is describing a male Sphinx, Egyptian

rather than Greek; also there is evidence that the Sphinx is associated with the

sun god. The literary representation here is of Shelley?s Darr5 famous sonnet

?Ozyman-dias,? which described a monument that was in the shape of a male

Sphinx (Donoghue and Mulryne 68). This is evidence clearly shows how other

philosophical writers influenced Yeats?s work. Another example of this takes

place in the third and final part of this poem. These last few lines are

extremely confusing but very powerful. Yeats goes on to say: ?The darkness

drops again; but now I know Those twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to

nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at

last, Slouches twards Bethlehem to be born??(2.17-21). The ?stony sleep?

of the Sphinx associates him with the ?stony sleep? of Blake?s Urizen in

The Book of Urizen. According to Donoghue and Mulryne, those twenty

?Christian? centuries can be taken as the outside term in this metaphor;

they represent nature, the fallen object-world. The ?rocking cradle? is the

inside term, standing for the subjective unconsciousness that is aware of the

Incarnation (24). Yeats’s vision in the end seems to be that the Christian age

is over and the Gnostic?s are waiting at Bethlehem for the Second Birth of the

Sphinx. Summarizing the experience of ?The Second Coming? reveals a

successful representation of other philosophical writers such as Shelley, and

Blake. It portrays many of the characteristics of the Gnostic religion. The poem

demonstrates how Yeats is waiting for his Sphinx to come again in ?The Second

Coming?. Lastly, Yeats uses imagery and the influences of the Irish wars to

depict the chaos and intensity throughout the poem. It is with theses influences

that Yeats is able to express the many meaning of ?The Second Coming?. Darr1

Christin Darr Dr. Arthur Edward Salmon Eng.II 9:45a.m. 25 May 2000 The Spirit of

William Butler Yeats and ?The Second Coming? ?Surely the Second coming is

at hand;? when a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight:? A

shape with a lion body and the head of a man, / A gaze blank And pitiless as the

sun,?(2.9-15). Is the world actually coming to an end? Is this sphinx-like

creature truly our inevitable savior? Or, is Yeats? life and things

surrounding it coming to chaos? Is the war and restless spirit of Ireland

influencing Yeats? work? On the other hand, is Yeats trying to help one to

understand the frustrations of their own lives on a more personal level? The

depth of Yeats?s work, among many other great poets, is immeasurable. Many

surrounding emotions, and intentions may go into this poem, along with various

other subsidies the poet may not even be aware of. This is precisely why the

literature department, or lack of, in many schools is weakening. Too many

teachers, professors, and now students focus either solely on rhyme and meter or

the ?obvious? reason a poet might compose a poem, such as personal

relationships, failures, earthly surroundings, or mental distress. The educators

of students today need to be more open-minded on the interpretations one has for

a particular poem. Literature has been a very strong Darr2 foundation for any

prosperous civilization. For centuries poets will be immortalized in classes and

books. However, as their words are remembered their spirit has been lost. When

analyzing a great poet?s work such as Yeats, the most obvious interpretation

is usually not the correct one. Literature helps open minds to endless

possibilities in every possible aspect. If students are taught to just accept

explanations and are discouraged from questioning or even thinking for

themselves, then the world will soon become full of conformed, mindless robots.

Future leaders of the world must be taught to analyze everything. They must be

taught to use their imaginations and logical thinking together. That is a most

powerful combination in the hands of a determined student. The process must be

in the root of this thinking. It must begin with literature. Throughout Yeats?

life he has produced numerous controversial poems. Many people hold their own,

very strong, opinions about poems. The truth is, there is not only one. Yeats

had many different influences when writing ?The Second Coming?, and it is

important for the reader to know each of them before they can even begin to

understand the many meanings and interpretations of this poem. Yeats?s poetry

has three major influences. The more obvious one is the fact that Yeats was from

Ireland, and at the time that this poem was written, World War II was affecting

Ireland. However, WWII was not something knew to the Ireland?s culture because

for the past 300 years Ireland had been involved in many other wars and at the

same time trying to gain their independence. Another influence on Yeats?s

writing was his personal religion, Gnosticism. According to Harold Bloom, Yeats

believed Christianity to be ?the barbarian theosophy,? and declined to

distinguish it form Gnosticism (1). Gnosticism Darr3 has to do with searching

for self-knowledge and rejecting the society of their time. This seems to have

been quite appropriate for Yeats and his writing. The third influence on

Yeats?s writing was the work of other philosophical writers such as Shelley,

Blake, and Nietzsche. Yeats used some of the imagery and context of their

previous works to help describe the meaning of ?The Second Coming.? When

reading ?The Second Coming? one?s first impression might be of someone who

felt as though they had no control of their life and therefore life was about to

come to an end. That interpretation was not well thought out and very

narrow-minded. The meaning is much more complex than that. ?The Second

Coming? is a very powerful piece of poetry, and one of the most universal

admired poems of the 20th century. Attempting to understand William Butler

Yeats?s work is almost impossible unless you let one to become completely

open-minded on every aspect of the poem. There are many different theories as to

what the true meaning of ?The Second Coming? really is. The fact of the

matter is that Yeats purposefully has more than one interpretation of ?The

Second Coming.? He wants the average person to open his or her creative mind

and to analyze every influence, language, and imagery to understand the message

he is trying to get across. When reading the opening lines of ?The Second

Coming? there are two meaning Yeats is trying to portray. In the opening

figuration, the center is man, unable as the falconer to no longer maintain

control over a ?turning and turning? movement. Man is going through constant

chaos that is affecting all of society. It is described, as ?Things Darr4 are

falling apart; the center cannot hold;?(1.3). However, there is evidence also

suggesting that the falconer is also the poet himself. The poet is loosing

control of his own creativity. He has a powerful and creative message to get

across but struggles to put it on paper. This presentation, either way, is

breaking down, or falling apart. At the end of the first stanza Yeats describes

and uses imagery when stating, ?The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and

everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned;? (1.5-6). This of course

refers to the biblical story of Noah and the great flood. Yeats is painting a

picture of an ocean of blood, which symbolizes the ?last wave?, or the end

of the world. In the beginning of the second stanza words are crucial here, for

Yeats ?surely? is showing us how insure he is, the repetition of

?surely? betraying his uncertainty. When Yeats repeated the words ?the

Second Coming? he is either referring to the Christian Second Coming of Christ

or the Gnostic Second Birth of their Demigod. Either interpretation is a great

change and uncertainty. Next Yeats describes the spirit of the world or

?Spiritus Mundi.? This image is identical with ?Anima Mundi,? the second

part of Per Amica Silentia Lunae, written also by Yeats just two years before (Cowell

15). In the second half of the last stanza Yeats states: ?somewhere in the

sands of the desert A shape with lion body and 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 birds? (2.5-9). Yeats is describing a male Sphinx, Egyptian

rather than Greek; also there is evidence that the Sphinx is associated with the

sun god. The literary representation here is of Shelley?s Darr5 famous sonnet

?Ozyman-dias,? which described a monument that was in the shape of a male

Sphinx (Donoghue and Mulryne 68). This is evidence clearly shows how other

philosophical writers influenced Yeats?s work. Another example of this takes

place in the third and final part of this poem. These last few lines are

extremely confusing but very powerful. Yeats goes on to say: ?The darkness

drops again; but now I know Those twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to

nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at

last, Slouches twards Bethlehem to be born??(2.17-21). The ?stony sleep?

of the Sphinx associates him with the ?stony sleep? of Blake?s Urizen in

The Book of Urizen. According to Donoghue and Mulryne, those twenty

?Christian? centuries can be taken as the outside term in this metaphor;

they represent nature, the fallen object-world. The ?rocking cradle? is the

inside term, standing for the subjective unconsciousness that is aware of the

Incarnation (24). Yeats’s vision in the end seems to be that the Christian age

is over and the Gnostic?s are waiting at Bethlehem for the Second Birth of the

Sphinx. Summarizing the experience of ?The Second Coming? reveals a

successful representation of other philosophical writers such as Shelley, and

Blake. It portrays many of the characteristics of the Gnostic religion. The poem

demonstrates how Yeats is waiting for his Sphinx to come again in ?The Second

Coming?. Lastly, Yeats uses imagery and the influences of the Irish wars to

depict the chaos and intensity throughout the poem. It is with theses influences

that Yeats is able to express the many meaning of ?The Second Coming?.