The Second Coming: An Analysis of William Butler Yeats’ Poem

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"The Road Not Taken" is a source of inspiration for me, because it encourages me to seize opportunities and chart my own course in life.

Welcome to our blog post, where we dive deep into the realm of literature and poetry. In this article, we will embark on an insightful analysis of one of William Butler Yeats’ most renowned poems, “The Second Coming”. Yeats, a distinguished Irish poet, penned this enigmatic piece during the turbulent times of the early 20th century. Join us as we unravel the profound themes and captivating imagery woven through the lines of this timeless work. Let us explore the mystical journey that awaits us in Yeats’ “The Second Coming”.

The Second Coming: An Analysis of William Butler Yeats’ Poem


The Second Coming, a renowned poem by William Butler Yeats, is a masterpiece that delves into themes of chaos, loss of innocence, and the ominous arrival of an apocalyptic event. With its thought-provoking imagery and profound metaphorical language, this poem has captivated readers for decades. In this article, we will explore the deep meaning behind The Second Coming and dissect Yeats’ poetic genius.

Heading 1: The Beast and Chaos

In the opening lines of The Second Coming, Yeats sets the stage by painting a vivid picture of a world in upheaval. He introduces the concept of a “beast” that is slouching towards Bethlehem to be born. This metaphorical beast symbolizes chaos and disorder, representing the impending doom facing humanity. Yeats’ use of the word “slouching” implies a slow and menacing approach, hinting at the destructive forces lurking beneath the surface.

Sub-heading 1.1: Loss of Innocence

One of the prevailing themes in Yeats’ poem is the notion of the loss of innocence. He reflects on the state of the world, where traditional values and beliefs are being eroded by the chaos of the modern age. The falcon can no longer hear the falconer, signifying the disconnection between humanity and its guiding principles. This loss of innocence contributes to the growing sense of unease and uncertainty depicted throughout the poem.

Sub-heading 1.2: The Second Coming and its Symbolism

Yeats’ choice of title, The Second Coming, carries significant religious connotations. It alludes to the return of Christ and the subsequent judgment day. However, the poem presents a conflicting interpretation. Instead of a peaceful and redemptive second coming, Yeats presents a more sinister vision. The arrival of the “rough beast” is seen as a reflection of the chaos and destruction that awaits humanity.

Heading 2: The Poem’s Structure and Language

The Second Coming is written in a fragmented and disjointed style, mirroring the disarray of the world it portrays. Yeats employs contrasting images and powerful descriptions to convey the poem’s themes effectively. He skillfully combines the use of contractions, idioms, transitional phrases, interjections, dangling modifiers, and colloquialisms to create a vivid and immersive reading experience.

Sub-heading 2.1: Poem Excerpt by William Butler Yeats

“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,”

In these lines, Yeats employs powerful imagery and evocative language to depict the world spiraling out of control. The falcon and falconer act as a metaphor for societal breakdown and the disintegration of established structures. Yeats’ use of the phrase “mere anarchy” underscores the magnitude of the chaos engulfing humanity.

Sub-heading 2.2: Themes of Chaos, Loss of Innocence, and the Second Coming

The various themes explored in The Second Coming intertwine to create a thought-provoking commentary on the state of the world. Yeats explores the consequences of a world turned upside down, highlighting the gradual loss of innocence and the impending arrival of a dark force. Through his use of vivid imagery and powerful language, Yeats forces readers to confront the bleak realities of the modern age.


In conclusion, The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats is a deeply profound and captivating poem that offers readers a glimpse into a world on the brink of destruction. Through his masterful use of metaphorical language and thought-provoking imagery, Yeats explores themes of chaos, loss of innocence, and the ominous arrival of an apocalyptic event. This poem serves as a powerful reminder of the fragility of our existence and the importance of preserving our humanity.


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  3. Q: Can you provide an excerpt from William Butler Yeats’ poem?
    A: Certainly! Here is an excerpt from The Second Coming:
    “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.”

  4. Q: What are the main themes explored in Yeats’ poem?
    A: The main themes explored in The Second Coming include chaos, loss of innocence, and the ominous arrival of a destructive force.

  5. Q: How does Yeats effectively convey his message through language and structure?
    A: Yeats relies on fragmented and disjointed structure, as well as powerful imagery and metaphorical language, to effectively convey his message and immerse readers in his thought-provoking world.

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