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William Butler Yeats wrote “The Second Coming” to describe the current state of society at the beginning of the 1920’s, shortly after World War I came to an end. Yeats believed that even though the war had ended, many people were too broken to recover. He believed that this was not just the end of a war, but the beginning of future violence that was looming. Yeats uses symbolism, figurative language, and structure to illustrate the complete disarray of society after World War I.
Throughout the whole poem, the symbolism makes the story dark and warning-like. The first stanza describes the state of society post-war and pre-Second Coming, when Yeats states “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, / The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, / and everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned” (4-6). The symbolism in these lines shows that the state of the world is in …show more content…
Repetition in the poem, as represented in the first line “Turning and turning in the widening gyre” (1), shows that people are stuck doing the same thing over and over. History is bound to repeat itself if society is stuck in their old ways, foreshadowing that one day there will be another war, also known as the Second Coming. The simile “a gaze blank and pitiless as the sun” (15) shows that there is no life left in society after the war drained them of their happiness. Yeats also uses irony to show that there is no way to tell who the good people and the bad people are anymore because “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity” (7-8). The best lacking conviction shows that the ones who should be deemed as good are defeated. They have no more fight left in them after fighting for so long, while the worst are full of an intensity that questions the ethics and morality of society. Things have gotten so bad after the war that good and bad are nonexistent

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