The Second Coming (poem) | Criticism

This literature criticism consists of approximately 2 pages of analysis & critique of The Second Coming (poem).
This section contains 514 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Edward Proffitt

SOURCE: "Yeats's The Second Coming'," in The Explicato r Vol. 49, No. 3, Spring, 1991, pp. 165-6.

In the following essay, Proffitt contends that the "rough beast" of "The Second Coming" refers to the offspring of the sphinx-like desert creature in the poem.

Yeats's "The Second Coming" must be one of the most widely explicated and paraphrased of poems. Still, its closure remains a mystery. If the "rough beast" spoken of at the end is the sphinx-like creature of lines 13-17, how can it be going to be born in Bethlehem when it has already been born in the desert? Indeed, how could any creature slouch toward the place where it is to be born?

Readers of the poem characteristically fudge this difficulty. For instance, in his otherwise exhaustive treatment, Richard P. Wheeler gets around the problem (ironically, because part of his title comes from line 21) by saying nothing about it...

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This section contains 514 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Edward Proffitt
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Critical Essay by Edward Proffitt from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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