Construction: The Second Coming

Citation metadata

Date: 2003
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 221 words
Content Level: (Level 3)
Lexile Measure: 900L

Document controls

Main content

Full Text: 

"The Second Coming" is composed of two free verse stanzas. Free verse is verse that does not use a formal or regular pattern of meter or rhyme. The lines and stanzas are of variable length, and the poem utilizes such literary devices as allusion, imagery, metaphor, and symbol.

An allusion is a reference to an event in history or literature. "The Second Coming" is a combination of two biblical allusions. The first allusion concerns Christ's prophecy of the second coming (Matthew 24). The second allusion refers to John the apostle's vision of the Beast of the Apocalypse (I John 2:18).

Metaphor is an unstated comparison between two objects or ideas in a poem. In this poem, the motion of the "widening gyre" can be compared to the motion of the destruction of the current era. At the point where "things fall apart," the new era commences.

Symbol is an image in a poem that represents both the actual object as well as an abstract idea. "The Second Coming" offers the symbol of the gyre. The spiraling motion of the falcon in the poem is an image of cirling around a given point or center. The gyre widens and as it does so loses relation to the center. This motion is the same destructive motion of the society represented in the poem.

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|EJ2114514720