FAQ: William Blake What Rough Beast Slouches Toward Bethlehem?

What does William Butler Yeats symbolize with the rough beast that slouches towards Bethlehem in his poem The Second Coming?

Of great significance in Yeats’ poem is the “rough beast,” apparently the Anti-Christ, who has not been born yet. And most problematic is that the rough beast is “slouch[ing] towards Bethlehem to be born.” The question is, how can such an Anti-Christian creature be slouching if it has not yet been born?

What does slouches towards Bethlehem to be born mean?

In this poem Yeats describes an apocalypse coming, and a new Messiah, described as a Sphinx, is come to ravage the world, being born into the world at Bethlehem. The verb slouching is basically to trudge; or, to move lazily. When Yeats writes “… Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born,” he means it approaches slowly.

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Is the rough beast approaching Bethlehem a savior or something else?

The poem is entitled “The Second Coming.” Is the “rough beast” approaching Bethlehem a savior, or something else? Answer. The “rough beast” or desert sphinx appears to be an Anti-Christ figure, bringing not salvation, but destruction.

What is the strange beast Slouche?

The only thing not doing any slouching these days is the “ rough beast ” in W. B. Yeats’s “The Second Coming,” the 1919 poem from which the phrase originates: “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

Who are the worst in The Second Coming?

Yeats is referring to sides in the Irish political conflict, complaining that “the best” won’t commit to a full-out rebellion against the English, while the worst are loud and boisterous, but ineffective in their actual actions.

What does the falcon symbolize in The Second Coming?

The falcon, separated from the falconer, is lost: without reason, without ruler, without larger cause. It is a symbol for a lost humanity, at the mercy of uncontrollable forces.

What does Widening Gyre mean?

The ‘gyre’ metaphor Yeats employs in the first line (denoting circular motion and repetition) is a nod to Yeats’s mystical belief that history repeats itself in cycles. But the gyre is ‘widening’: it is getting further and further away from its centre, its point of origin.

What does the blood dimmed tide is loosed mean?

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere. The ceremony of innocence is drowned; These three lines describe a situation of violence and terror through phrases like “anarchy,” “blood-dimmed tide,” and “innocence […] drowned.” (By the way, “mere” doesn’t mean “only” in this context; it means “total” or “pure.”)

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What does the center Cannot hold mean?

That “the center cannot hold” is an ironic reference to both the imminent collapse of the African tribal system, threatened by the rise of imperialist bureaucracies, and the imminent disintegration of the British Empire.

What does the beast symbolize in the Second Coming?

The sphinxlike creature described in the poem symbolizes both destruction and rebirth. It also symbolizes the pagan world that predated the Christian era.

Why does the Second Coming end with a question?

This monster, this “beast” that “Slouches towards Bethlehem” is unknowable and unpredictable, especially because we so deserve the consequences it comes to deliver. The poem ends with a question because we cannot know this monster or the punishments it will inflict upon us.

What is the central theme of the Second Coming?

Major Themes of “The Second Coming”: Violence, prophecy, and meaninglessness are the major themes foregrounded in this poem. Yeats emphasizes that the present world is falling apart, and a new ominous reality is going to emerge. The idea of “the Second Coming” is not Biblical.

What does gyre mean in The Second Coming?

A gyre in “The Second Coming” refers to a spiral or a circular motion, but it also stands for the larger cycles of history. Yeats believed that an orderly gyre or cycle of history that began with the birth of Christ was ending, about to be replaced with a new historical cycle of chaos and cruelty.

What does Spiritus Mundi mean?

Spiritus Mundi is a Latin term that literally means, ”world spirit. ” In Spiritus Mundi, there is, according to William Butler Yeats, ”a universal memory and a ‘muse’ of sorts that provides inspiration to the poet or writer.

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Does the center hold meaning?

It means chaos is descending upon the world; the forces that should bring order are failing to do so. It is a line from a poem by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, written in 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War – and if it doesn’t make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, you may in fact be dead.

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