The Second Coming : summary

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The Second Coming is a notable literary work by William Butler Yeats. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of The Second Coming.


The Second Coming” is a poem by Irish poet W. B. Yeats. It is a poem written in 1919 after World War I and the Easter Rising in Ireland. The poem is considered one of Yeats’ most famous and influential works. It reflects his deep faith. Because he thinks the world is entering a new and turbulent era full of chaos and uncertainty. The poem is divided into two stanzas and has 22 lines.

In the first stanza, the image of a hawk flying out of control is a metaphor for the chaos of the modern world, where traditional values and structures have collapsed. The speaker wants to explain that the ruled no longer want to obey the rulers. The government has lost its controlling power. Religious norms are lost, and evil deeds are encouraged. The blood game has started all around. The world could be in a more convenient place.

In the second stanza, Yeats explains the image of a “rough beast” approaching Bethlehem that represents the arrival of a new age formed through violence and upheaval. The Spiritus Mundi is a monstrous animal (“rough beast”) that is very powerful and terrifying. Its body is like that of a lion, but its head is like that of a man.

Many readers have interpreted the “rough beast” as a symbol of the rise of totalitarianism and fascism in Europe in the 20th century. The poet wants to say that the state of the world has become such that the change or disaster of this civilization will indeed begin.

However, this change will not be like the previous change. The First Coming was the coming of Jesus Christ for the welfare of humanity. The Second Coming will be terrifying and will only spread strife all around. That is, he is warning people.

“The Second Coming” is a powerful and evocative poem that captures the sense of uncertainty and anxiety of the early 20th century. It reflects Yeats’s belief that the world was entering a new and turbulent age and is still considered a powerful commentary on the human condition by readers today.