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Biplob Prodhan
  • 2 weeks ago
  • 22
Write a critical appreciation of the poem “The Second Coming”

Write a critical appreciation of the poem “The Second Coming”.

The opening lines of the poem impart us a picture of the disintegration which has overtaken the Christian civilisation. The diminishing force of Christianity is conveyed to us through the idea that Christianity is like a falcon – a symbol for man who no longer
hears the call of the falconer, i.e. God.

As a result, the falcon has lost contact with the falconer and it becomes directionless. Things are falling apart and there is no stabilizing force. The shadow of disorder, lawlessness, and confusion is looming over the world. The “blood-dimmed tide” is the tide of violence. This tide has drowned the “ceremony of innocence”.

The “CEREMONY OF INNOCENCE” represents for Yeats those fanatical men who have seized power. The ruthless, full of passionate intensity of fanaticism seem to rule the whole world. As a result, the pure and best men have grown sceptical and they have lost all conviction.

The indication is that some new revelation or a new “coming” is near. The first revelation or the first coming was the birth of JESUS CHRIST which heralded the Christian civilisation.  The phrase “SPIRITUS MUNDI” stands for “SPIRIT OF THE WORLD”. The Stoics used this phrase for the vital force of the universe but it should be noted that William Butler Yeats has employed it for a kind of corporate imagination similar to the racial sub-conscious described by psychologists.

In other words, the phrase “Spiritus Mundi” which has caused to be the property of any personality that signs, even direct messages flow from “Spiritus Mundi” which the poet and the philosopher have only to see, hear, and recognise.

The SPHINX – the shape with lion’s body and the head of a man represents ruthless and merciless violence, “moving its thighs” conveys the clumsy, powerful, and stirring of the shape into life. The shadows of the desert birds reel away from it in the giddiness of nightmare. As it shows things moving, birds over the desert see it and
begin to scream.

During the twenty centuries of the Christian civilization, this beast was sleeping but is about make its appearance in the world. This will be the “Second Coming” and it will supersede Christ who was born two thousand years ago at BETHLEHEM.  The new period in human history will be one of monstrous animal power.

Thus, WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS’ “THE SECOND COMING” contains a “HORROR-VISION” of the destruction of the world as we know it and the prophecy of era of infinite and sheer cruelty and suffering.

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Biplob Prodhan
Biplob Prodhan Founder & Director EDNOUB Foundation Ednoub Private Program

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