The Second Coming

Read the poem again and answer the questions
• The image of the falcon and the falconer begins the poem. Draw a picture of what Yeats means?
What happens over time, as the bird gets further away from the falconer?
Define the word “Gyre”
• When the center cannot hold, what happens?
• What happens to the ceremony of innocence?
What drowns it?
What could be an example of an innocent ceremony?
• What is happening to the world?
What happens to the “best”?
What happens to the “worst”
• What is “The Second Coming”?
What is supposed to happen there?
• What image does Yeats see out in the desert?
Why is it having a nightmare?
Why is a cradle doing it?
• Where in the world, today, are “things falling apart”?

16 thoughts on “The Second Coming

  1. As the falcon recedes from the falconer, it becomes less and less likely to ever come back.

    Gyre; a spiral or circle.

    When the center cannot hold, whatever is spinning will fall apart suddenly and spectacularly. Yeats believes this will happen to society, and all that will be left is an anarchical rabble.

    The ceremony of innocence could be meant as the 1920’s lifestyle. It has long since passed into dust. America is now in power. This happened in World War 2, a possible “blood-dimmed tide”, which was to drown the ceremony of innocence.

    the best have less drive than the worst. The worst would therefore win any conflict between them.

    The second coming refers to the prophesied return of Jesus Christ, which is destined to happen at the end of the world.

    He sees a Sphinx, a representation of a bygone civilization. It is incapable of Pity, and yet even it fears the cradle, the Antichrist.

    Things are falling apart everywhere. Just because it’s more blatantly obvious in some places than others doesn’t mean that these are the only places this is happening.

  2. • The image of the falcon and the falconer begins the poem. Draw a picture of what Yeats means?

    What happens over time, as the bird gets further away from the falconer?
    It cannot hear the falconer, therefore it is no longer under its control, it is descending from order into chaos and anarchy.

    Define the word “Gyre”
    A gyre is a swirling vortex. It is often used to describe wind or ocean currents.
    The word was also used by William Butler Yeats for an occult historical concept presented in his book A Vision (a book whose ideas Yeats claimed to receive from spirits of the dead). The theory of history articulated in A Vision centers on a diagram composed of two conical spirals, one situated inside the other, so that the widest part of one cone occupies the same plane as the tip of the other cone, and vice versa. Around these cones he imagined a set of spirals. Yeats claimed that this image (he called the spirals “gyres”) captured contrary motions inherent within the process of history, and he divided each gyre into different regions that represented particular kinds of historical periods (and could also represent the phases of an individual’s psychological development). Yeats uses the word in many of his poems, including “The Second Coming (poem).” (Wikipedia – Gyre)

    • When the center cannot hold, what happens?
    Anarchy is “loosed” upon the world, because it cannot hold against it. Uses “mere” as an oxymoron to demonstrate how it is anything but mere, and to show his opinion of it, that it is not something fit to grip the world.

    • What happens to the ceremony of innocence?
    What drowns it? What could be an example of an innocent ceremony?
    The ceremony of innocence is the everyday lives of the people that had been comfortably the same for a small while at that point, that had almost become a ritual, and was being drowned, and destroyed, by the blood dimmed tide that was spreading across the world

    • What is happening to the world? What happens to the “best”? What happens to the “worst”
    The best, those with “good” ideals, the powerful and rich who had been living comfortably, but are afraid to do anything to bring the world back into order.
    The worst are those who are causing this anarchy. They are doing all they can to get out of the oppression that stems from the rich and powerful, to overthrow the “order” that benefits a small minority.

    • What is “The Second Coming”? What is supposed to happen there?
    The Second Coming is the return of Jesus to earth, when Armageddon will take place, the world will be torn asunder, and the living shall be judged

    • What image does Yeats see out in the desert? Why is it having a nightmare?
    Why is a cradle doing it?
    Yeats sees a Sphinx in the middle of a desert, one of the last remaining relics of a mighty empire that was destroyed over 2 thousand years ago, and sees foreshadowing in it. A cradle is rocking it, causing the nightmares, because it has been sleeping these last 2000 years and sees the same signs as when the civilisation that built it fell.

  3. Over time as the birds get further away from the falconer it becomes more and more likely that it will not come back as the falconer has lost the sense of control

    A Gyre is a spiral or circle

    When the centre cannot hold is saying that whatever is spinning in the Gyre will loose its composure and fall apart leaving behind nothing but useless segment of what just fell apart. Yeats uses this example to illustrate what will happen to society with the result of the world living in chaos.

    The ceremony of innocence is the style of living in the era that this poem was written (1920). This era has somewhat been surpassed and a new lifestyle is in place and this is set by America the new nation in power. This occurred in WWII, illustrated by Yeats with the quote “a blood dimmed tide” showing that this was to be drowning the ceremony of innocence.

    The second coming refers to the second coming of Jesus Christ, which is said to happen according to the bible and other studies.

    The image that Yeats sees out in the desert is the image of the sphinx with a body of a lion and the head of a man. This is the representation of a very important civilization that flourished thousands of years ago but is now merely a subject on the horizon.

  4. As the falcon draws further away from the falconer, it seems less likely that it will ever return.
    A gyre is a spiral or circle.
    When the centre can no longer hold, the thing that is in motion will fall apart suddenly, in this case society.
    The ceremony of innocence refers to the time of which the poem was written, in the 1920’s. The ceremony of innocence has been drowned out by the ‘blood-dimmed tide’. This is referring to WWII and how American society is the power now.
    The second coming refers to the return of Jesus Christ. This is said to happen at the end of the world.
    Yeats sees a sphinx in the desert. This represents a past civilisation that has fallen, this lets him refer this issue he sees coming in the future.
    Things are falling apart constantly and all across the world, but things are constantly being rebuilt across the planet and everything keeps going.

  5. English questions the second coming
    1. A gyre is a spiral of space and time as explained by Yeats in his book ‘a vision’ in this case a gyre means the path that the falcon ascends into the sky.
    2. Things fall apart when the centre cannot hold, this means that when the most important things stop then anarchy starts to appear in the world.
    3. The ceremony of innocence ceases. This means that the celebration of purity is stopped and the celebration of a quite opposite value is on its way. The flood of the bad who are ‘full of passionate intensity’ drowns it. An example of the celebration of innocence is the whole Christian religion.
    4. The world is being polarised by the changing ways of the good and the bad, the good ‘lack all convictions’ and the bad ‘are full of passionate intensity’.
    5. The second coming can be taken in biblical sense with the second coming of the Christ. The apocalypse is said to be imminent when the second coming occurs.
    6. Yeats sees a vast beast in the desert. The beast is having nightmares because it is close to waking and that the cradle is waking it because it is an image of the Christ and the beast is an antichrist.
    7. Things are falling apart in many places in the world today, the world order is being disrupted by fear of change and there are many places geographically where the old order is being destroyed, obviously in many war torn areas, there are still places where socially things are very wrong and need to change.

  6. As the falcon gets further away form the falconer the falconer loses what’s left of its control over the falcon.

    Gyre is a spiral or a circle.

    When the centre cannot hold then mere anarchy will be loosed upon the world meaning that the society will fall apart and wont be under control anymore and the less desired in society or sects of society will be free to do what they want.

    The ceremony of innocence is drowned Yeats could mean that all innocence will die out and this will lead to everyone losing their innocence either through sin or committing a crime. It is drowned by a blood-dimmed tide which could be the blood bath that Europe had become during world war one.

    Basically the world is coming apart at the seams and is taking a turn for the worse.

    The best are losing their convictions meaning that they are losing their will and aren’t sure anymore. The best are the elite/aristocracy and they are becoming corrupt.

    The worst or the lower social classes are full of passionate intensity and are taking the place of the aristocracy.

    According to the Bible the second coming is when Jesus is coming again and will be the end of the world when all will be judged and either found wanting and go to hell or be allowed into heaven.

    In the desert Yeats sees the Spiritus Mundi, human spirit, Yeats then talks about the sphinx “A shape with lion body and the head of a man” which symbolises the Spiritus Mundi.

    The sphinx, Spiritus Mundi, is having a nightmare because it has been asleep, oppressed by Christianity, for 2000 years.

    The cradle symbolizes Jesus and 2000 years ago he started Christianity which took the place of the human spirit, Spiritus Mundi. Sending it into 2000 years of stony sleep.

    Today things are falling apart in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, etc.

  7. 1. As the bird gets further away from the falconer he becomes freer, but further away from safety. I think that this represents that the bird/people moving away from order and towards anarchy and disorder.
    2. The word gyre means a spiral
    3. When the centre cannot hold anarchy is released upon the world. I think this is saying that when democracy cannot hold up under the circumstances it will collapse and anarchy will rule.
    4. The ceremony of innocence is drowned, destroyed
    5. By the blood dimmed tide, or the evil of the world. This could be represented as WWII and the change of power form Europe to America.
    6. An example of ceremony of innocence could be kids playing in the street and then having their lives tipped upside down by the blood-dimmed tide of WWII
    7. I think what is happening to the world is that it is moving further and further from order into disorder and anarchy. It could also mean that the world is heading towards an apocalypse.
    8. The best are pure and are lacking all convictions and will be taken by jesus to heaven.
    9. The worst are full of passionate intensity and are therefore going to be left behind in the second coming and bring around the destruction of the world.
    10. The second coming is the destruction of civilisation. It is the circle of history repeating itself. It is the supposed second coming of jesus who will supposedly take the worthy to heaven.

    11. In the second coming the great civilisation of the time is supposed to fail and be destroyed. For example the Egyptians, this gives other civilisations the chance for greatness. It could also be the second coming of jesus to take the worthy up to heaven and bring the apocalypse.

    12. The image the Yeats sets out is the sphinx. It is the symbol of a destroyed civilisation.

    13. It is having a nightmare because it knows the second coming is coming. It is therefore scared because it knows that the devil will be coming to destroy the world.

    14. The cradle could be representative of the turmoil over the worlds history that have “rocked the cradle” and this time it has gone to far and the cradle has brought on the second coming.

    15. Things are falling apart all over the world today. With terrorism gripping people with fear, they are starting to do stupid things and there has been another war started. This could be the end of America’s power and the start of someone else’s.

  8. – As the bird gets further away from the falconer it becomes less and less likely that it will not return. The falconer moves further and further out of control.
    – Gyre is a spiral or circle
    – When the centre cannot hold the rest falls apart and this is what Yeat’s is illustrating in “The Second Coming” and this is what he believes will happen to society.
    – The ceremony of innocence could be meant as the 1920’s lifestyle. It has long since passed into dust. America is now in power. This happened in World War 2, a possible “blood-dimmed tide”, which was to drown the ceremony of innocence.
    – “The Second Coming” refers to the return of Jesus Christ who is destined to return at the end of the world
    – In the desert, he sees a sphinx, which is representing the loss of a civilization. He is devastated at the thought that everything is falling apart

  9. Poem questions
    • The image of the falcon and the falconer begins the poem. Draw a picture of what Yeats means?
    What happens over time, as the bird gets further away from the falconer?
    Define the word “Gyre”
    A gyre is a spiral or vortex.
    • When the center cannot hold, what happens?
    The spinning gyre spreads out over society
    • What happens to the ceremony of innocence?
    It is lost in turmoil as war breaks out and innocence is lost. Young people are turned into fight being forced to grow up in an instance and all their innocence of childhood is lost.
    What drowns it?
    The outbreak of war and blood being split drowns it.
    What could be an example of an innocent ceremony?
    • What is happening to the world?
    The war is reaching the end and nearing the return of Christ. Armageddon is upon us and the end of civilisation is near.
    What happens to the “best”? What happens to the “worst”
    The best lack all convictions, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. This line describes how the best are oblivious to the outside world. They lack all convictions and are innocent to the worst. The worst have a passion for doing what they think is right no mater how bad it good be.
    • What is “The Second Coming”?
    the second coming is when Jesus Christ comes to earth again.
    What is supposed to happen there?
    The world is meant to end after the second coming and people are judged as whether they are to go with Jesus to heaven or to hell.
    • What image does Yeats see out in the desert?
    He sees the evidence of a once prosperous civilisation now slowing disintegrating into a waste of sand. He is troubled by this sad sight
    Why is it having a nightmare?
    The sphinx is having a nightmare because it has seen 20 centuries go by but not been able to do anything about it.
    Why is a cradle doing it?
    The rockning cradle represents the destruction and ever presence of war, and how it has rocked around the sphinx for so long
    • Where in the world, today, are “things falling apart”?
    where ever there is war present. For example the irael and arab conflict which is still present today. The frequent suicide bombing attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. The many terrorist attacks that have occurred all over the world.

  10. •When the center cannot hold, what happens? 

    When the centre cannot hold, it all falls apart! Referring to our human race.
    •What happens to the ceremony of innocence? 

    The ceremony, which involves gatherings of once thought of as innocent people is, drowned which means the innocent is changing to the opposite!
    What drowns it? The guilt drowns the innocent which may have resulted from the many wrong doings and pull away from religion.

    What could be an example of an innocent ceremony? 

    An innocent ceremony example may include the Christian religion, which enables people to be innocent through Jesus…. So they say!
    •What is happening to the world? What happens to the “best”? What happens to the “worst” basically the worst become the ones we look up to and the best have given up which was supposedly happening before Jesus was born. Therefore the world is repeating itself.
    •What is “The Second Coming”? What is supposed to happen there? The second coming is the event were Jesus returns as they said he would to fix the problems which seem to always turn to anarchy.
    •What image does Yeats see out in the desert? Why is it having a nightmare? Why is a cradle doing it? The beast seen out in the desert drives the nightmare, it is the devil and this is why at the end the cradle is showing us ‘the way’.
    •Where in the world, today, are “things falling apart”? Today things are falling apart with secret wars such as terrorism, which seems to have the whole world in shackles.

    harry v

  11. The falconer and the bird lose touch with each other. The further they go the greater the distance between the two and the less control the falconer has over the falcon.
    A spiral or a circle.
    Anarchy breaks out because there is central point which provides stability and control. Meaning that society and the world will fall apart.
    Yeats explains that the ceremony of innocence is drowned. Possibly meaning that the everyone in society loses their innocence. This could be seen as a sin or as committing a crime.
    The blood dimmed tide
    The western world
    Because of the predicted second coming the world is falling apart and doesn’t look like it can go back to normal civilisation.
    The best are losing their conviction or their will and are uncertain about the future. The best refers to the aristocracy, the elite or the well respected in society.
    The worst are the lower to middle class and they will replace the best or the aristocracy because they are full of passionate intensity.
    The second coming is the predicted arrival of Christ to Jerusalem according to the Bible. When this occurs it will be seen as the end of the world and will determine whether you will go to hell or be accepted heaven.
    Mere anarchy will be unleashed upon the world.
    He sees the shape of a lion body with a human head also known as a sphinx. Also he sees the spiritus mundi which is the human spirit. This could mean that the human spirit is being taken over by someone or in this case the sphinx.

  12. What happens over time, as the bird gets further away from the falconer?
    Define the word “Gyre”
    A circle or spiral. This is signalling a loss of control relating to irish aristocracy is losing power and equality is becoming more evident in this society.

    • When the centre cannot hold, what happens?
    This is referring to humanity and the revolution of a world of aristocracy into a world of much greater equality.

    • What is happening to the world? What happens to the “best”?
    What happens to the “worst”
    The era of a definitive social class is over. Aristocracy is losing power and the peasants are becoming more affluent meaning that this is becoming closer to equality.

    • What is “The Second Coming”? What is supposed to happen there?
    This is signalling a revolution of social classes. Yeats is scared because this will greatly affect him.

    • What image does Yeats see out in the desert? Why is it having a nightmare? Why is a cradle doing it?
    This is representing a society that used to be extrememly powerful and represented again a very split social class. They are now nothing and all that remains is these pyramids and statues that they erected. This is now happening all over again.

    • Where in the world, today, are “things falling apart”?
    I believe that this can be seen from many different points of view. Personally I believe that Australia is approaching this as real wages are going up and the average home and family is becoming a lot more prosperous. Other people may believe that the US is falling apart as they are driven by there economy and technology. This is an opposite way of “things falling apart” but is demonstrating a significant change in society that is not necessarily a good one.

  13. The bird loses the falconer and cant go back. It gets stuck in the gyre. The gyre is a metaphor for spinning out of control.
    Gyre is a spiral or a circle
    When the centre can not hold the gyre falls apart and chaos is unleashed
    The ceremony of innocence is the everyday living of the people in the era that he is writing. The blood dimmed tide is what drowns the world’s innocent living
    The second coming is the return of Jesus to the world and the end of time. At this point the universe ceases to exist and the followers are taken to heaven.
    In the desert there is a sphinx. It has already seen a civilization collapse and has nightmares of the beast that is moving towards bethlehem to destroy another civilization

  14. Read the poem again and answer the questions

    • The image of the falcon and the falconer begins the poem. Draw a picture of what Yeats means?
What happens over time, as the bird gets further away from the falconer?

    As the bird get futher away from the falconer the it seem less likely that the falcon will ever return

    Define the word “Gyre” Gyre; a spiral or circle.

    • When the center cannot hold, what happens?

    when the centre cannot hold the whole structure falls apart, because ow can a structure hold with no middle…. Yeats is saying that if the heart of western civilization falls apart then how can it outposts?
    What happens to the ceremony of innocence?
What drowns it?
What could be an example of an innocent ceremony?

    The ceremony of innocence is referring to the 1920 and how America will drown this innocence by a blood dimmed tide, referring to a new time and era of world super powers.
    • What is happening to the world? What happens to the “best”?
What happens to the “worst”

    The best is the good and honorable people that are living well, while the worst are the people causing this anarchy in the world. The best and worst always are going to be bad and good.
    • What is “The Second Coming”?
What is supposed to happen there?
    The second coming is the second coming of christ to destroy the world and banish the sinners to hell while taking the clean and pure to heaven. And civilization of world will crash as we know it
    • What image does Yeats see out in the desert?
Why is it having a nightmare?
Why is a cradle doing it?

    He sees the sphinx in the desert the last remaining relic of an empire a two thousands years ago. The cradle rocking represent that a empire can oly last for 2 thousands years without falling apart.

  15. As the falcon gets further away, it cannot hear the falconer. This basically represents the fact that we are out of control, and we can’t “hear”, or see what is about to happen.

    Gyre: Any manner of swirling vortex

    When the center cannot hold, what happens?
    When “the center cannot hold”, the “gyre” of our civilisation and society as we know it, will spin completely out of control into darkness.

    The ceremony of innocence, the monotonousness of everyday life, is drowned by a blood-dimmed tide that is spreading across the modern world.

    The world is on the brink of anarchy. It is about to undergo a revelation, and the world as we know it will come to an end, with a new cycle of history emerging.

    “The best lack all conviction”, in that they don’t really believe in anything.
    “The worst are full of passionate intensity”, in that they DO have something to believe in, yet they “back the wrong horse”, so to speak.

    The Second Coming, the return of Jesus Christ, the apocalypse, Judgement Day. The time where god will come to judge all of mankind, the time when the world will fall apart. Out in the desert, Yeats sees an image of a sphinx, a symbol of age and wisdom, and more importantly, a relic from ancient Egypt, a mighty civilisation, now gone for over 2000 years. The sphinx is troubled, “vexed to nightmare” by the warning signs it is seeing. It has seen them before, the rocking cradle, and recognises the “The Second Coming”. The rocking cradle is the symbol of the new “birth of Jesus”, which, last time, represented the start of a new historic cycle.

  16. When the center cannot hold, what happens?
    Chaos, things fall apart, anarchy is loosed upon the world and the world changes.

    What happens to the ceremony of innocence?
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned, this may referring to the death of WW1 plays a part in the death of Christianity.

    What drowns it?
    The blood dimmed tide. Which could be referring to bloodshed and death of WW1, is changing the world.

    What could be an example of an innocent ceremony?
    The ceremony of innocence could refer to the death of Jesus, and maybe the Christian religion.

    What is happening to the world?
    It is changing as a major civilization is falling and power is shifting.

    What happens to the “best”?
    The best lack all convictions, meaning they are loosing their drive.

    What happens to the “worst”?
    Full of passionate intensity, as they blindly follow, full of passion.

    What is “The Second Coming”?
    The second coming is the coming of Christ Jesus, the apocalypse. The end of the world.
    The second coming in this text can be referred to as the shift of power from one civilization and another.

    What is supposed to happen there?
    The end of the world. Destruction. Judgement

    What image does Yeats see out in the desert?
    The image of the shinx, which is the symbol of another great civilization and also the spirit of the world.

    Why is it having a nightmare?
    Because it is being awaken by the rocking

    Why is a cradle doing it?

    Where in the world, today, are “things falling apart”?
    Everywhere you look you see the world falling apart, on the new are murders and disasters. People only thinking of themselves, global warming and wars. Christanity is pushed to the side as people believe that they don’t need God. That is the main reason the world is falling apart in all these areas.

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