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I have to write an essay comparing Yeats' "The Second Coming" with Wilbur`s "Advice to...

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jacktang96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 29, 2012 at 11:08 PM via web

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I have to write an essay comparing Yeats' "The Second Coming" with Wilbur`s "Advice to a Prophet". What is a common theme between these two works?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 30, 2012 at 4:41 AM (Answer #1)

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William Butler Yeats; "The Second Coming" and Richard Wilbur's "Advice to a Prophet" have in common that they are both apocalyptic poems, blending Christian and non-Christian symbols to address issues pertaining to the end of the world. In both poems, the poets confront human moral failure in face of annihilation. In Yeats' poem, "the best lack all conviction" and in Wilbur's what is lacking is pity. The main difference between the two poems is historical. Yeats' eschatology is entirely located within a religious realm of history interpreted spiritually, but Wilbur's responds to the nuclear bomb and the possibility of humanity's end in a nuclear winter. Thus for your essay, you might focus on how technological change affects the ways in which the two poets approach the apocalypse.

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