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Recycling of the Decaying Culture Leads to the Revival

I belong to an English Literature background and have a grip on critical analysis. I review Literary text and share understanding points.


The Second Coming is a thought-provoking work by Irish poet William Butler Yeats. It is poetic creation that reflects political, cultural, and religious decay that leads to the revival. The study claims that regeneration is associated with the culmination of several decaying cycles resulting from losing centrality.


W.B Yeats has shown the loss of centrality with images and symbols. According to Merriam-Webster symbolism is a technique that expresses the invisible or intangible using visible or sensuous representations: such as artistic imitation or invention that is a method of revealing or suggesting immaterial, ideal, or otherwise intangible truth or state, the use of conventional or traditional signs in the representation of divine beings and spirits.


In The Second Coming, Yeats uses the symbol of the gyre that represents the cyclic process leading to the generation of a new era. Gyre is the twisting and turning, which reflects the end of the history of Yeats's work.


When one cycle completes, the other takes place, resulting in the visualization of a new era or entering a new age. The turning and turning mean the twisting to reveal the new coming.


The repetition of twists reflects the successive turns leading to the revival. It further represents the completion of one gyre. The falcon can not hear the falconer express the ending of the gyre. When the cyclic process goes on unwinding, the center is automatically lost. The loss of center leads to the falling apart.


Yeats further uses the phrases blood-dimmed tide and ceremony of innocence that reflect the coming up of new age. Things are getting decay that initiates a new process.


The Second Coming is written in 1919 after World War I. This poem reflects the powerful message about destruction and chaos that happened before the second coming. This rising is no longer peaceful but decaying the previous cultures. The decay grinds up life and results in the formation of a new era. The decay of a historical era has been reflected through the symbol of the gyre.


The study states that the change is not certain. It is a process of evolving from the decays. When a culture or history undergoes decay, it loses its previous teaching. The loss of earlier lessons causes the adaptation of new teachings, which is also called revival.


In this poem, the decay of the previous era leads to the regeneration of the new era. One can say it is modernism, as Yeats belongs to modernism and results from World War I. The change also refers to the second coming.

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Although, the second coming is a Christ belief. In Christianity, the coming of Christ refers to the second coming, but here Yeats uses the second coming as an allusion as shown in the next stanza. The coming up of second age is a change from the previous culture. It indicates that the decays are not unusual but lead to the revival.


The Second Coming refers to the metaphoric representation. Yeats has used metaphors to elaborate on the historical turn. In the ending lines of the stanza, the poet claims that "The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity". It is one of the metaphors of the poem.


The best people are those who peace but are silent. While; the worst people are more passionate as they are in a war mood. This part indicates the World War, where the worst people are passionate and spread anarchy everywhere. Things are getting decayed, but the poet stays optimistic by saying Second Coming is on hand.


Falcon can not hear falconer is another metaphoric representation in the stanza. George Bornstein states that falcon can not see falcon is "the state of the world as if from the top of a mile-high tower”. It also refers to the end of a gyre. If this turning interlinks with the things falling apart, the center cannot hold, it refers to the centrifugal force.


Jeffer connects turning, falling, anarchy, and blood-dimmed with the centrifugal force due to the tension the center loses. Jeffer further suggests "the archetypal myth of floods destroying all life upon the world”. The destruction represents the decay of cultures.


The purpose of metaphoric representation is to visualize the images of a decaying culture. Here culture is used as a term to reflect the "integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior" (DMFA 2002). When the decaying cycle undergoes, the interlocked patterns of culture start regeneration that leads to the second coming. The new era is full of novel things where innocence is drowned - resulting in the production of beasts such as Spiritual Mundi.


Yeats has elaborated aftereffects of World War I in The Second Coming. It causes the formation of a new culture. The chaos and darkness swallowed the era, which is no less than a decaying of a culture.


Yeats has used imagery to develop the sense of decaying culture in The Second Coming. In the first stanza, they then use the words best and worst images - good and evil. The word mere anarchy is a further addition to this category. This has drenched the blood of humanity that represents another decay.


By showing all this situation, Yeats invokes Christ. The decaying of cultures will only revive by the Second Coming. Despite this fact, this poem gives an ambiguous picture of the future. The decaying culture may decay morality and humanity, which no longer seems like a dream.


Hilter in his speech states that "The decay of our culture, these mounds of contamination of our whole cultural life. The decomposition of our literature, the poisoning of our movie theater, all the art is now falling" (Deacy of culture). The decay is going on that is why things are falling apart and setting up a new era. This new era is also referred to as modernism.


The poem uses many other literary devices that reflect the importance of a few elements. These devices reflect the changing tone and style. The starting lines use close repetition of words to develop a feeling of uncertainty such as the falcon turning frequently in search of its master.


The diacope "turning" and the polyptoton "falcon" and "falconer" indicate a pattern of continuous and desperate movement. Diacope is a figure of speech in which a single word or phrase is repeated with only a few words between them. Polyptoton is a figure of speech in which the same root is used to create many words (such as "blood" and "bleed").


Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds. In the first stanza, the repetition of /t/and /f/ sound is alliteration. It acts like a potential or focused thing that brings new culture.


To conclude, it is stated that the decaying of the previous culture leads to the revival of a new era that is filled with chaos. It is because of the lack of certain elements such as humanity, and morality. The lack of religious and spiritual connection leads to ambiguous creation. The completion of Yeats's historical cycle is not the end of the world but brings an optimistic view of life. The poem sheds the light on the second coming, which is the result of passion. Recycling is going on whenever there is a need for regeneration but this revival contains the signs of the previous culture.

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