Spirituality and The Second Coming
In his eloquent poem "The Second Coming" William Butler Yeats uses word choice and phrase combinations to convey to the reader an understanding of his sentiment of impossibility concerning the fate of spirituality for the human race. His inner conscious is spread out in the poem for the reader to either accompany him in his darkness or to turn their back and continue to believe in their own form of hopefulness in spirituality.
Yeats cleverly hints to the reader his despair in the phrase, "Turning and turning in the widening gyre" (Yeats, Longman p. 2329: 1.). The reader can hear the voice of the poet describing his journey farther and farther from his once cherished center based on religion. His beliefs have been shattered over time. According to the introduction in The Longman Anthology British Literature, "The 1890's in London were heady times for a young poet. Yeats became even more active in his studies of the occult" which was years before he wrote The Second Coming. This interest may have led the poet away from his former religious values. It is possible that because of this turn away from religion the author's basic value system may have been in turmoil at the time of writing The Second Coming.
Yeats drifting away from his religious beliefs may be evidenced in the phrase, "The falcon cannot hear the falconer" which could be interpreted as he can no longer hear the voice of his former God (Yeats, 2). The falcon in this sentence may refer to Yeats himself and the falconer may symbolize his former God. When the author writes, "the center cannot hold" he may be referring to his idea that organized religion can no longer give credence or explanation to his worlds despair and turmoil. This despair and turmoil could be attributed to the growing pains suffered by England at the time of writing and before. Yeats himself may have been witness to a countries upheaval caused by change. His own live may have been reason for these feelings of loss because of his living in England instead of his home country Ireland. According to The Longman Anthology British Literature, "Yeats was born in Dublin... when Yeats was three, his father moved his family to London" which may account for some of his confused feelings of loss (Longman 2322).
According to Carl G. Jung one part of the human psyche is, "the collective unconscious. This part of the psyche houses the cumulative knowledge, experience, and images of the entire human race. According to Jung, people from all over the world respond to certain myths or stories in the same way" (Bressler 154). This idea may account for the "centre [center]" Yeats refers to. The center may refer to a common belief of some form of all-powerful...