After his vision Yeats is sure of two things: that history is repeating itself, even if the new era is an altered form of the old one, and that he is a member of the "new paganism". This explains the awe that fills the poem in its closing. An illustration of a rebirth into Paganism will be filled more with fear and awe than love for this reason: Christianity worships God in his love as a being of supreme good, but pagans worship the spirit of the world as a being of supreme power. Furthermore, his cadence in the last phase of the poem implies that he is almost speaking with reverence to the spiritus mundi and a quite disdain for what he sees as a flaw in Christianity. This brings us to the final two lines in "The Second Coming", "And what rough beast, its hour come 'round at last/ slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?" This first sums up the poems theme of a "Second Coming" of paganism as opposed to Christ. Secondly, however, are the implications of the statement. The book of revelations says that in his second coming Christ will not be born humbly among men, but to come to the world in full glory. But Yeats, since he has already established the true nature of this second coming, now returns to this prophecy, pointing out that it had been partially right, that the figure of the coming would not be born humbly. But it seems that he half suggests the reason why this is true is because of an inherent weakness in Christianity.
The Second Coming has many biblical references within the poem in my point of view. It talks about ideas from the book of revelations. In revelations an angel "opened an abyss"(Revelation 9:2) in which Yeats describes a "widening gyre"- a deep and bottomless pit. The bible also describes the world in its last days filled with: "abomination filled with desolation)". Yeats also discribes a world filled with chaos: "falcon cannot hear the falconer, anarchy, innocence drowned, best lack all conviction, blood- dimmed tide, and passionate intensit... Read more →