As the title of the poem suggests, Yeats poem is a prophetic poem that clearly shows Christ’s second return to the earth after the world has been engulfed in sin and sorrow. The poem was written after the first world war to depict hope for earthly occupants who have experienced torture, suffering, death ,hunger and disillusionment .The writer uses imagery to create a sense of waiting and arouse the readers interest in what is the second coming. Gyre is a word used to mean how things were moving in a spiral movement after the Second World War to bring to the readers mind the theme of confusion. Turning and turning is used to create repetition of the world’s cruel events which could present Christ’s Second Advent as revealed in the book of revelation.
All Christians who read the bible and especially the events presenting the second coming were ready for the world to end after world war 1 because the bible warns of the war which will come before Christ returns to the earth to take his people to joyous life in heaven. “The falcon cannot hear the falconer” is used symbolically. In studies of wild birds, falcon is a bird of prey which kills and eats animals like hedgehogs and its flying speed when targeting its prey is more than that of cheetah. The
Sentence means that the attacker or the world’s trouble maker cannot hear the creator. Falconer is the instructor of peace who can be God. Here it means the world has reached a point of no return where evil and the father of evil (the devil) is instructing the leaders of the world to seek war among nations. Suffering is the centre stage where people go hungry, and prostitution and crime are the order of the day, religious fanatics and false prophets are in the world. Concept of brotherhood has seized and the only theme in the world is “every man for himself”. Then things fall apart. The devil has taken much control of the world.
The word “mere anarchy” is used to mean only and very pure. Writer uses these words in order to show the unleashing of wrath by the serpent who is the prince of darkness and together with his evil angels can cause great trouble in the world if it were not for divine power of God. During the First World War, bombs were dropped to the earth’s surface and people thought the end had come. These fires can be compared to the lake of fire in revelation which is portrayed as burning with brimstone where the beast, the false prophet and the dragon (that serpent of old) are tormented daily. Anarchy means lawlessness and shows how the world’s justice has been buried in an abyss. Fires of wrath dominate the whole world; diseases with no cure and immortal human suffering are used symbolically to mean the tension in the world. The words “ceremony of innocence is drowned” are an imagery used by the writer to show how the world is not free again and the innocent must suffer for sins which they did not commit. Whoever commits the sins who is the anarchist, enjoys life and is unquestionable at any court jurisdiction. William butler uses this word to show how the world likes was in the days of civilization is not a place to admire. Like nowadays, the poem is very much applicable where international criminal courts have been established to prosecute evil doers who can escape punishment in their own countries because they are power barons and corrupt leaders like those of the medieval ages. The words “best lack conviction and bad are always full of passion” is a paraphrase. Here it can also mean that the good people need power to govern others very well in the society and that has been foiled by corruption and injustice. Powerful people on the contrary don’t deliver accordingly when given the power but the wise governors say they want to be loved and those people who love believe in wisdom and how they can use it for the benefit of others and themselves. This leads to a vicious circle and confusion during the last days here on earth as William butler puts it. Words like “revelation is coming” are used in order to further develop the title of the poem and always to keep in the mind of the reader just as the title suggests, Christ must return to the world. The concept of time span is revealed by those words. Just as Christ came to the world, then in the same way will return to save mankind from destruction by the sinister person.
The poet uses words like “spirits mundu” to bring the theme of religion in the poem and develop the poem’s title. Words mean that in the world, there is a pure spirit which rests in the minds of every human being and informs him about Godly issues. People then wait joyously and obey Christ’s commandments so as to escape eternal torment. The poet uses words like “a lion like body with mans head” to create fear among the readers and depict dangers associated with the weird creature. Simile is used to show how unforgiving and cruel the beast is. The beast is portrayed as passing through the desert just like the falcon of the second line to scare desert birds. Like the falcon, the beast is a symbol of evil and danger for the occupants of the earth. Desert birds are personified to human beings and again tormentation is a must. The beast represents the anti -Christ who comes before Christ return to cause a religious sway in the world. Beast’s power was granted to him by the dragon (serpent) in order to destroy loot and kill Christ’s followers. Rough beast’s arrival brings the idea of suffering. Centuries of stony sleep is used symbolically to represent the suffering in Ireland during Williams’s butler’s time where he suffered to a point, and through religious meditations, thought the First World War can lead to the end of the world and Christ can come for rescue.
In reality, the world was not ending but it was just beginning because the Second World War was fought but the world can end anytime .The poet uses imagery, symbolism, personification and simile to develop the theme of religion, fear, suffering, and history in his poem.
In conclusion, the words used in the poem clearly fit to the message being communicated and they contribute to the development of the title “second coming” no other words could have been used to achieve the writer’s objectives.