Where are chaos, pessimism, and  loss of faith in the poem "The Second Coming"?Can anyone write the verses of the poem that refers to each one of these features: chaos,...

Where are chaos, pessimism, and  loss of faith in the poem "The Second Coming"?

Can anyone write the verses of the poem that refers to each one of these features: chaos, pessimism, loss of faith?

Asked on by shakira22

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

susan3smith's profile pic

susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

Yeats' poem "The Second Coming" is a description of the state of the  world following World War I using apocalyptic imagery.  The poem is filled with images of chaos, pessimism, and loss of faith.  In the first few lines, Yeats describes a world in chaos, one that is spinning out of control.  It is

Turning and turning in the widening gyre . . .

Things, fall apart; the center cannot hold.

Here we get the idea of a spinning top whose wobbly axis cannot support its circling mass.  The world seems precariously near collapse, and

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world

Loss of faith is also prevalent in the poem and is connected to the present chaos:

The falcon cannot hear the falconer . . .

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

In these lines, Yeats uses the metaphor of a falcon who cannot hear his trainer call him back home to describe a world that cannot hear god's voice.  As a result, the best of men have no strongly held beliefs, no strong moral principles,  and the worst of men are the ones who are passionate and intense.  In other words, the best have lost all faith while the worst are driven by fanaticism and irrationality.

The pessimism of the poem comes in the last few lines when Yeats describes the second coming.  The second coming is not a positive image; it is a "rough beast," slouching "towards Bethleham to be born."  The implication is that for the next twenty centuries, a new era will develop, and that this new era will be worse than the Christian era preceding it.

 

We’ve answered 318,916 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question