The Second Coming Theme : themes

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The Second Coming Theme is a notable literary work by Wole Soyinka. 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 Theme.


The Second Coming” by W.B. Yeats is a complex and enigmatic poem that reveals several important themes. Some of the key themes in the poetry include:

Apocalypse and Chaos: The poem reveals the chaos and uncertainty of the post-World War I world. Yeats utilizes vivid and unsettling imagery to get a sense of impending doom and societal breakdown. The “rough beast” slouching towards Bethlehem symbolises chaos and destruction.

Historical Cycles: The poem investigates the idea that history is cyclical because societies go through periods of order and chaos. Yeats advances that the world is spiralling into a new era marked by the return of chaos and violence.

Anarchy and Disintegration: The poem mentions a sense of anarchy and disintegration, with falcon and falconer symbolizing the breakdown of traditional authority and control.

The Loss of Innocence: Yeats mourns the loss of innocence and the ideals of the past. He notices the world as a place where the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

Myth and Symbolism: Yeats mentions rich mythological and symbolic imagery throughout the poem. The “widening gyre” and the “rough beast” draw from various mythical and mystical traditions to make a sense of foreboding and mystery.

Spirituality and the Occult: The poem touches on Yeats’s interest in the occult and spiritualism. He was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and was impacted by mysticism. The idea of a new spiritual awakening is indicated in the poem.

Fear and Uncertainty: The poem evokes a sense of fear and uncertainty, reflecting the anxieties of the time. It conveys a feeling of foreboding about the future.

Nationalism and Identity: Here, the speaker mentions a reflection on the state of Ireland and its struggle for independence. Yeats was deeply concerned with the Irish nationalist movement, and the poem can be read as a commentary on the nation’s state.

These themes express the depth and complexity of “The Second Coming, “making it a rich and enduring work that continues to be studied and investigated for its profound commentary on the human condition and the state of the world.